Ankle Sprains Require Prompt Attention
At FL Foot Health, we know that many times patients will take a “wait and see” approach to an injury and put off going to see a podiatrist if at all possible. For ankle sprains, this can result in long-term pain and disability.
It Takes a Podiatrist
The tricky thing with ankle sprains is that the symptoms don’t give an accurate picture of how severe your injury is.
After a sprain it is common to experience:
Pain at the site of the injury
Difficulty bearing weight on the ankle
These symptoms may increase during the first 24 hours after an injury and then begin to subside. That doesn’t mean, however, that your ankle is fine or even improving. Typically, a sprain occurs when the ligaments of the ankle are overstretched in a traumatic twisting incident. But other injuries can occur as a result of the sprain including fractures, cartilage bruising or tendon damage. For this reason, it’s essential that you have a podiatrist examine your ankle as soon after the injury occurs as possible. Need to find a podiatrist in your area? Use our online directory.
The foot doctor will examine your ankle and foot and ask questions about previous ankle sprains and injuries. An x-ray or other imaging study may be ordered as well. Once the podiatrist determines the exact type, location and severity of your injury, the appropriate treatment plan can be created.
Rehabilitating a Sprain
The first steps can be taken by you even before you get in to see the podiatrist. Use the RICE method to initially treat an ankle sprain:
R-rest the affected foot
I-apply ice to the sprain (for 15-20 minutes every 3-4 hours) to reduce swelling and help with pain
C-compression bandages can help reduce swelling
E-elevate the ankle above the level of the heart
The podiatrist may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication for pain. Other treatment options include bracing the ankle and physical therapy. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damage. Whatever treatment your podiatrist recommends, it’s essential that you complete the full course or you may experience chronic ankle pain, stiffness or instability (weak ankles) in the future.