Dealing with Ankle Sprains Before They Get Worse
Ankle sprains are very common injuries. Odds are that at some point in every person’s life—be it while running on the playground as a child or landing awkwardly on the stairs as an adult—a sprain will occur. Often sprains are simply complications from over-extended ligaments in the ankle that will clear up on their own. However, in some cases the ligaments will stretch severely or even tear, prompting the need for medical attention.
The most common recipients of ankle sprains are men between the ages of 15 and 24, and women over the age of 30. At least half of all ankle sprains occur during strenuous activity; however, almost as many occur from daily activities such as going downstairs or walking on soft or slippery surfaces. An average of 25,000 people each year seek medical attention for ankle sprains in the United States.
There are a few signs to look out for when sustaining a sprain. With mild sprains there will be pain along the inside of the foot and difficulty walking. Most sprains involve swelling, although with a mild sprain the swelling should not be severe and should go away within a few days. With more severe sprains there will likely be bruising and severe swelling. Most people report a popping or tearing sound occurring at the onset of the injury. It is likely you will not be able to put any weight on the injured foot at all.
The swelling that can occur with a severe sprain is similar to the swelling that occurs with a fracture. It is important to seek medical attention whenever swelling occurs, as there may be a more serious injury capable of worsening if left untreated. Even simple sprains, if left untreated, can turn to joint weakness or stiffness later on.
What Can I Do?
Like many conditions of the foot and ankle areas, there are things you can do at home to lessen the symptoms. The R.I.C.E. method of at-home treatment, derived from the first letters of Rest, Icing, Compression and Elevation, is a useful acronym to remember when dealing with Ankle Sprains.
Rest is generally the first step you should always take after a foot injury. Any amount of weight placed on the affected area can cause severe pain and prompt further injury. It is important to remain off of the affected foot/feet as much as possible, as soon as possible after the injury is sustained.
Icing the affected area for twenty-minute periods is an effective way to minimize the pain and help lessen bruising.
Compression of the injured ankle involves binding the joint with a bandage or boot, which can help to minimize swelling. However, it is recommended that you consult a health professional before binding as further injury can be caused by unskilled methods of compression.
Elevation involves raising the affected foot above the level of your chest, or at least as high as you can safely and comfortably do. This will restrict blood flow to the affected area and decrease pain.
In many cases of a sprain, a boot or crutches will be required to cushion the injured foot or to remove weight from it entirely. Podiatric professionals, like the team at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center, can help to asses the severity of a sprain and provide the tools necessary to help you heal.
Where Should I Go from Here?
If you have sustained a sprain, chances are that your mobility has suffered. Dr. Vikki and the qualified team at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center have the tools and training necessary to educate you on how to treat a sprain and how to avoid future injury.
With many years of collective experience, Dr. Vikki and Dr. Connie can help you get back on your feet and stay there. Schedule a consultation today to find out what the team at Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center can do for you!