Ankle sprains are very common and after they happen once, they frequently happen again. They can also be very painful, so painful that you may be certain you broke your ankle. The most common type of sprain is called an inversion sprain, when you twist your ankle inwards. This can happen walking down the stairs or stepping off of a curb wrong, among many other reasons. After you sprain your ankle once, you become more prone to them. Your ankle joint has several ligaments and when these ligaments get stretched out, they never completely return to normal.
How do I treat an ankle sprain?
Firstly, you should see a medical professional to make sure there are no broken bones associated with the sprain. For this you will need x-rays. If no bones are broken, immobilization is the next step. The type of immobilization depends on many factors, including age and stability, amount of swelling, and your job or lifestyle. The two most common types of immobilization are a walking boot or ankle brace with laces and support. If your foot or ankle are also very swollen, you may need additional wraps for compression. If your work of lifestyle requires you to be on your feet a lot, the boot is usually the best option because it will allow your tendons and ligaments the most rest while still being able to work. Even with immobilization, it is important to ice in order to reduce inflammation.
The amount of time required in a boot or brace varies from patient to patient. Sprains can take several weeks or even months to heal. Once the pain and inflammation is reduced, many patients will require physical therapy. Physical therapy will help to strengthen the tendons around your ankle and help to restore balance. Physical therapy is the next step in getting back to your regular activities.
If you do not have pain relief with the above conservative treatments, an MRI may be necessary to further evaluate the tendons and ligaments. If you have a tendon or ligament tear, surgical intervention may be necessary to repair this. This will require a period of not walking on the injured foot after the procedure. In many athletes this is the best option to get them back to full strength and their activities as quickly as possible.
If you recently had an ankle injury, call Hollowbrook Foot Specialists today at (845) 298-9074, for an appointment and evaluation. We are serving the Hudson Valley from Wappingers Falls.