What to Do When You Sprain Your Ankle
Ankle sprains are a common injury that occurs when the ankle rolls, twists or turns in an awkward way. Inversion sprains are the most common type of sprain and occur when the foot rolls outward. Wearing proper footwear for each activity can help prevent ankle injuries from happening, such as a sturdy hiking shoe that supports the ankle. If you are prone to ankle sprains, wearing an ankle brace can also help protect you.
Sprains can vary in severity from mild to severe. Mild sprains may cause swelling, bruising, difficulty moving and tenderness. They can be treated using the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If your ankle isn’t feeling better after two weeks, it’s time to follow up with a specialist to make sure the sprain isn’t worse and that nothing is broken. Severe sprains can mean the ligament in your ankle is torn and are normally accompanied by more intense symptoms. Moderate and severe ankle sprains should be treated by a podiatrist. Further treatment depends on the severity of the injury and if the individual is able to bear weight on it.
Mild sprains may only take a few days of rest and ice to heal, while others may require immobilization of the ankle through a walking boot or something similar. Frequent ankle sprains or injuries can lead to instability and damage to the ankle, which may require surgery. Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of podiatrists dedicated to educating patients on how to properly care for their joints.
Brent Evans, DPM, is a podiatric surgeon at Triad Foot & Ankle Center and a member of Cone Health Medical Group.