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Understanding and Treating Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are common injuries affecting the ligaments surrounding the ankle joint, particularly the medial collateral ligaments, the lateral collateral ligaments, and the inferior tibiofibular ligament. The medial (deltoid) ligament, which is robust and originates from the tip of the medial malleolus, fans downwards and attaches to the talus, calcaneus, and navicular bones, making it less susceptible to injury. The lateral collateral ligaments, less sturdy than the medial ligaments, originates from the lateral malleolus and divides into three distinct ligaments: the anterior talofibular ligament, the calcaneofibular ligament, and the posterior talofibular ligament. The distal tibiofibular ligament, also known as the syndesmotic ligament, is crucial for maintaining the stability of the ankle joint.

Ankle sprains mainly occur due to excessive pulling or tearing of these medial and lateral ligaments, often caused by uneven terrain during walking or excessive inversion or eversion of the foot during physical activities. In lateral ligament sprains, tenderness or swelling is typically observed in the anterior lateral aspect of the ankle, while medial ligament sprains present with pain and swelling on the anterior medial side of the ankle.

Ankle sprains are common clinical conditions that can occur at any age but are more frequent in active young adults. They account for over 80% of all joint sprains. Clinically, they are classified into inversion and eversion sprains, with inversion sprains being more common.

Ankle sprains often result from walking, running, jumping on uneven surfaces, descending stairs, or slopes, where the foot suddenly inverts or everts, placing great tension on the lateral or medial collateral ligaments. Mild injuries may involve stretching or partial tearing of ligaments, while severe injuries can lead to complete ligament rupture or associated ankle fractures. Improper foot movements can injure muscles and blood vessels, leading to extravasated blood and painful swelling due to hematoma formation.

For acute sprains, acupuncture using corresponding points on the same meridian can be highly effective, offering immediate relief. For chronic sprains, identifying and targeting Ashi points (tender spots) through acupuncture until the pain decreases or disappears has been shown to provide significant relief.


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