An ankle sprain can be a painful experience that can significantly hinder your normal activities, especially if you are an athlete. A sprain needs to be treated by experts, like those at The Foot Doctors of Santa Cruz County, to avoid lasting effects. For an evaluation of your ankle sprain, call or book an appointment online for one of their offices in Watsonville or Santa Cruz, California.
Sprained Ankle Q & A
What is an ankle sprain?
An ankle sprain is an injury that occurs when the ligaments and tendons of the ankle joint are extended past their natural limits. This causes excessive stretching and may cause tears in the ligaments that support the ankle. Usually, this is the result of twisting or rolling the ankle in an unnatural way.
Ankle sprains are common injuries and may be mild enough to be treated with rest and ice. More severe ankle sprains may require treatment and rehabilitation to avoid long-term problems, like chronic ankle pain, arthritis, or joint instability.
Once you have severely sprained your ankle, it is easy to sprain it again, as the joint is less stable. If you have had multiple sprains, you should consult with your podiatrist to see if you have damage that may need rehabilitation to protect from future injury.
What are symptoms of a sprained ankle?
Symptoms of a sprain are caused by activities that place your ankle at risk for rolling or twisting. Sports, like ballet, trail running, basketball and football, are common causes for an ankle sprain.
Aside from ankle pain, symptoms include:
- Instability of the ankle
You might hear or feel a “pop” when the sprain occurs. Symptoms often mimic a broken bone, and immediate attention may be required if the sprain is severe.
What is the treatment for a sprained ankle?
An evaluation by the podiatry team involves a physical exam, which includes testing your range of motion, and diagnostic studies like X-rays, MRI, or an ultrasound.
Once your sprain has been diagnosed, your treatment plan may include:
- Ice therapy
- Pain medication
- Soft brace or wrap
Surgery is rarely needed but may be necessary to shorten the stretched ligaments and help improve the stability of the ankle joint.
In the long term, physical therapy may be required to regain total range of motion and prevent further injury. Recovery may take as little as a couple of weeks or may require 6-12 weeks of downtime before you are fully healed.
For an expert evaluation and treatment plan for your sprained ankle, call or book an appointment online today.