Ankle sprains can and do happen to anyone regardless of their level of activity. A simple misstep off a curb can easily cause a twisted or sprained ankle. In fact, sprained ankles are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries in the United States, impacting more than 20 ,000 people every day.
If you ever sprained your ankle, you know that it’s painful and requires time to heal properly. And if you’re used to being active, being laid up for a couple weeks can be frustrating. But in the long run following doctor’s orders and taking the appropriate steps to allow your ankle to heal is in your best interest.
Dr. Jarna Rathod-Bhatt and Dr. Rahul Bhatt and our team at Apple Podiatry Group offer this advice on how to regain stability after you sprain your ankle.
Don’t wait to see one of our podiatrists
With a sprained ankle, the immediate pain and inability to put weight on your foot isn’t something that’ll go away on its own. While treating it at home is tempting, this isn’t the time to be a tough guy and wait it out to see if it gets better. Seeing a podiatrist is the best way to get treatment that helps your ankle heal faster.
Every ankle sprain is a little different. Although they all involve damage to the ligaments, the number of injured ligaments can differ as well as whether the ligament is overstretched or torn, either partially or totally. These characteristics determine the severity of the sprain and what kind of treatment is needed.
When you hurt your ankle, there’s also the possibility that you don’t have a sprain at all, but an ankle fracture. Putting off getting a proper diagnosis and treatment can put you at risk for a long-term condition called chronic ankle instability which is not only uncomfortable, but also can lead to leg weakness or repeat episodes of your ankle giving way.
Be patient to heal fully
Once we’ve performed a complete physical examination, which may include diagnostic tests like X-rays or an MRI, we determine whether your sprain is mild, moderate, or severe and develop a treatment plan. Although treatment plans for ankle sprains go through similar graduated steps regardless of the severity of the sprain, the healing time will be different.
Typically treatment includes resting, possible immobilization using a boot or brace, icing, elevating the ankle, and taking anti-inflammatory medications. Once the pain and swelling subside, then the focus is on restoring mobility. A minor sprain may take a couple weeks to heal while moderate or severe ones can take up to 12 weeks.
Exercise and training to regain function
Physical therapy exercises for strength, balance, and flexibility can help strengthen and retrain your ankle muscles to do their job properly. The exercises are designed to not only restore your mobility and range of motion, but also prevent instability that could lead to another sprain in the future.
If you’ve injured your ankle, contact our podiatry team in Arlington and Irving, Texas. Book your appointment online or call one of our offices today.