Deltoid Ligament Sprain

by Sam Malone

The deltoid ligament sprain is when the deltoid ligament, which is on the inside of the ankle, ruptures or tears. These ligaments provide support to the ankles and prevent them from everting or the turning inwards. The deltoid ligament sprain is, therefore, also known as an Eversion Sprain. Deltoid ligament sprains are quite rare though as the fibula bone prevents the ankle from moving too far and the medial ligaments (deltoid ligaments) are much stronger than the lateral ones. This could probably be why only 5 to 10% of ankle sprains are deltoid ligament sprains. A deltoid ligament tear happens when the inner ligament is stretched too far, causing a sprain and the foot to be twisted outwards. So who is most prone to this ligament tear? Sports people, especially those who run long distances on uneven or soft surfaces, are more likely to suffer from a ligament tear. Repeated misuse or overuse of these ligaments slowly and gradually lead to micro trauma. It could also occur due to sudden over pronation of the ankle. Therefore, people who aren’t into sports could also be susceptible to it.

A deltoid ligament sprain can be divided into 3 grades. Symptoms differ depending on the grade the injury falls in. In grade I, a mild partial tear occurs with mild or no instability, little swelling, mild pain and some stiffness in the joints. Grade II is a severe partial tear of the deltoid ligaments; symptoms here are moderate to severe pain, swelling, stiffness in joints and moderate instability. The last category is Grade III, where a complete tear occurs with gross instability, severe swelling and pain.

An x-ray will be first taken to rule out a fracture. Your doctor will check for tenderness around and below the medial malleolus. Based on the diagnosis and the severity of the issue, treatment will be advised. Apart from home care, a low intensity laser program as well as a combination of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy may be recommended. There are however some natural treatments as well that could help alleviate a deltoid ligament sprain, these are:

  • Rest: This is an important factor in the healing process. Any repetitive stress or strain could aggravate the injury and thwart the curing of the ankle. Severe ligament tear runs the risk of temporary immobilization of the joint. Avoid carrying heavy weights.
  • Cold compression: Cold therapy should be used on the injury to reduce swelling and bleeding, if any. It is advised that cold compression be applied every 2 to 3 hours for at least 15 minutes.
  • Elevation: Elevate your ankle to reduce the swelling. Try and keep your foot on an elevated surface, above the ground, while sitting or resting.
  • Home Exercises: Your doctor or physiotherapist will advice exercises that should be done to help with healing the ligament sprain. It is important that the exercises be done exactly as instructed to avoid aggravating the situation.
  • Diet: What you eat could make a difference in the therapy process. To repair a tear in the ligament, protein is one such nutrient that should be had in sufficient amounts. Amino acids converted from proteins are important in assembling new tissue. Have two or three servings of protein a day such as skinless poultry, beans, fish and shellfish. An increase in intake of vitamin C will also aid the healing process, as one of the main components in the structural proteins that make up the ligament is collagen. Vitamin C stimulates collagen creation. Apart from vitamin C supplements, you can also consume oranges and pineapples that are rich sources of the vitamin.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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