Whether you are playing a sport or simply walking down a cracked sidewalk, there is the potential for injuring your feet and ankles. Specifically, an ankle sprain is a common injury for athletes and non-athletes alike. At one point or another in our lives, most people will experience an ankle sprain because it is one of the easiest musculoskeletal conditions to sustain from daily activities.
When we are not paying close attention to our footing (which happens more often than you may think), our feet may catch on an uneven surface, causing us to trip or the ankle ligament to be stretched painfully. Sporting activities such as football and basketball are also a couple of the most common ways for athletes to sprain an ankle due to pivoting while running.
At Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute in Saratoga Springs, UT, our podiatrists have extensive training in sports medicine and injuries related to activities associated with sporting activities. We understand how easy it is for an injury in the ankle to occur (especially for an athlete), and our team is here to provide patients with the medical attention they need to get back into their daily lives, including the sports they love to play.
From injury prevention to treatments designed to reduce pain, our podiatric team is here for Saratoga Springs patients who have sustained an ankle sprain and need the right physical therapy or other medical treatment for their ankle injuries.
What Is an Ankle Sprain?
When a patient has sustained an ankle injury, the ligaments (soft tissue) around the ankle bones have been pulled, stretched, or torn. Sprains in the ankle area are most common in runners, gymnasts, football and tennis players, dancers, and basketball players due to the variety of movements and potential for awkward twisting of the ankle.
Walking on uneven ground can also result in an ankle sprain when someone trips or stumbles and the ankle is twisted in just the wrong way. Regardless of how the sprain occurred, you must get the best treatment to reduce swelling, reduce pain, and encourage rapid healing of the ankle area.
Common symptoms to look out for with a sprained ankle include pain in the affected area, swelling, bruising, and difficulty or pain while walking. If you are dealing with these symptoms, it is very likely that you have a sprained ankle and should seek medical attention as soon as possible to determine the extent of the injury and to begin reducing your pain.
How Long Before Athletes Can Return to Activity After Sports Injuries such as Ankle Sprains
Most people, especially athletes, will be eager to find out how long it will be before they can return to regular daily activities and sports after sustaining an injury to the ankle. The short answer is that it depends on a variety of factors. A sprained ankle can be mild and does not affect other body areas such as the shin bone, knee, toes, or Achilles tendon. In this case, the treatment will be a couple of days of rest, and you should be back on your feet quickly.
However, the treatment process will be more intense when the sprain is moderate to severe, and the healing/recovery time will be longer. This would also be the case if your sprained ankle were accompanied by other issues such as shoulder injuries, a head injury/concussion, or another complication incurred from the fall which caused your sprain.
Is Playing Sports Safe with a Sprained Ankle?
When you have sprained your ankle, it is in a weakened state. This means that an injured individual is at a higher risk of causing further and more serious injury to the affected area if that person continues to engage in the sport or regular activity.
Although most patients would prefer to get back on the court, field, road, or other daily activities, these actions could increase the severity of your sprain and be more detrimental to your health. Rather than rest and ice treatments, continued activity on a sprained ankle could end up needing surgery to repair the damage. Allow yourself to heal before life can get back to normal.
Treatments for Sprained Ankles
In the majority of sprained ankle cases, the treatment will be the R.I.C.E. method.
To allow your ankle to heal, your doctor will prescribe plenty of rest for at least a few days, including the use of crutches if you absolutely must move around. Your ankle will likely not want to bear weight at first.
You will also need to ice your ankle to decrease swelling, bruising, and pain. For the first 1-3 days after your injury, it is appropriate to ice the ankle for 20 minutes every 2-4 hours.
It is important to immobilize the injured ankle as much as possible to prevent movement and pain. A wrap or bandage may be necessary for only a couple of days for a mild sprain but could require several days or a week for severe injuries.
To eliminate swelling and bruising, it is recommended that patients lie down with their ankles raised on pillows at or above their hearts. This may be necessary for at least 3 days.
If the R.I.C.E. method has not completely healed your sprain, your podiatrist may recommend a walking boot to encourage healing and work to restore strength, mobility, flexibility, and balance. You may also need physical therapy in more serious cases and even surgery if the condition persists without any relief.
Contact Our Saratoga Springs, UT, Podiatrist for Diagnosis and Physical Therapy for Ankle Sprains
If you are a resident in Saratoga Springs, American Fork, Eagle Mountain, or any of the surrounding areas and need a podiatrist to examine your sprained ankle, contact Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute. Our team of podiatrists is here to help with the pain, inflammation, swelling, and other symptoms of your ankle sprain. We are happy to recommend exercises or a physical therapist to assist you in regaining strength, and our services are designed to get you back on your feet quickly.
Contact us today at 801-756-4200 to schedule your appointment with our Utah Country podiatrists!