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What should I do to treat my injured ankle?

Q: I am a 24 years old boy. I weigh 88 kgs and exercise daily. I lost my balance while running, one day. My foot turned badly and my whole body weight was on my left ankle when I fell. I showed this to a doctor. He told me it was nothing serious and that I will get well soon. Its been 6 months now and it is paining a lot. I have been told that theres a fracture in my ligament. A doctor has asked me to get an MRI done. My entire leg is paining because of this. Could you tell what I need to do to get rid of this? Is there any operation that needs to be done?

A:From what you describe you seem to have a ligament sprain. Your use of the expression ligament fracture is confusing. A fracture would indicate a break in the bone. You need to clarify if there is any fracture. The diagnosis of ligament sprain is always clinical. X-rays are required only to exclude any associated fracture. Sprains may be of three different grades:

  1. When few fibres of a ligament are torn causing pain and swelling but there is no instability.
  2. When more fibres of the ligament are torn with greater swelling and some degree of stress opening of the joint.
  3. When there is a complete rupture of the ligament with gross instability as assessed by stress X-rays
Sprains at times can be worse than fractures because of the persistent pain and swelling that they can lead to. You need to first consult an orthopaedic surgeon in person to clarify the status of your pain; if it is a complete tear then you may need a surgical reconstruction. This is usually very rare and your doctor will be able to guide you on this. Milder sprains can be treated with initial rest followed by exercises. At times you may also need a small shoe modification to prevent recurrent injuries.

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