We know exactly what you need
What You Need To Know About Fractured Ankles
What is a Sprained Ankle?
A sprained ankle occurs when you unnaturally roll or twist your ankle awkwardly or weirdly. This may result in the stretching or tearing of tough bands of tissue known as ligaments, which help hold your ankle bones together and stabilize your joints to prevent excessive movement. If the activity which injured your ankle forced the ligaments beyond their normal range of motion, the sprain typically occurs.
What Causes a Sprained Ankle?
Compared to an injury such as a fractured ankle or Achilles tendon rupture, a sprained ankle is on the less severe end of the spectrum. However, that isn’t to say that the injury is not painful or could have accompanying complications if not treated properly, such as chronic ankle pain, chronic ankle joint instability, or arthritis. The sprain itself occurs when the ankle is forced to move in a way that is outside of its normal position. The ligaments are stretched to the tearing point, causing serious pain and discomfort.
There are many scenarios in which a sprain can occur, but the most common causes of a sprained ankle are:
- Jumping and landing awkwardly on your foot
- Exercising (or even walking) on an uneven surface
- Sport activities
- Another person stepping or landing on your foot
- Moving in a way you are unaccustomed to (pivoting, cutting, jumping)
- Playing on uneven surfaces
- Lack of stretching
- Poor physical health
- Dangerous weather conditions (icy sidewalks)
- Prior injury
If you are at risk of ankle injuries, including sprains, it is best to take the necessary precautions to avoid injury. When an unexpected injury occurs, be sure to make an appointment with a trained foot and ankle doctor to evaluate your condition and prevent further damage or complication through expert sprained ankle treatment.
How to Know If You Sprained Your Ankle
The most obvious sign that you have, at the very least, injured your ankle in some way is the resulting pain coming from the injury point, especially when you put any weight on the affected foot. In addition to the pain, you may also have other uncomfortable symptoms of a sprained ankle, including:
- Tenderness when touching the ankle
- Restricted range of motion
- Instability in the ankle
- Popping sound or feeling at the time of the injury
Depending on the severity of the injury, you may not experience all of these symptoms or have others that compound the issue. Serious symptoms may indicate that you have done more severe harm to a ligament or a broken bone in the surrounding area. The injury itself may also dictate how much medical care you will need, but you must talk to an experienced foot care physician if you suspect a sprain.
Types of Sprained Ankle Injuries
When you have a sprained ankle, this means that you have injured the ligaments in your ankle, not the bone itself. It is a prevalent injury, but degrees of severity can make this common condition more serious in certain circumstances and have potentially problematic complications. Depending on the type of sprain, your treatment can vary from the R.I.C.E method at home to surgery, prescription medication, and physical therapy.
The following are the types, or grades, or ankle sprains that may occur:
Grade 1 Ankle Sprain
For a grade 1 ankle sprain, the ligaments have been stretched but not torn in the ankle. Some symptoms you may have to contend with include mild pain, minor swelling, and joint instability, mild joint stiffness, and difficulty doing high impact movements such as jogging or jumping.
Grade 3 Ankle Sprain
Level 3 is a severe ankle sprain wherein the ligament has been completely torn, so you will have severe swelling and pain, instability of the joint, extreme loss of motion, and severe pain when walking or standing.
Grade 2 Ankle Sprain
The second level of an ankle sprain is the most common, and it is a partial tearing of the ligament but still not a complete tear. You may encounter significant swelling, bruising, moderate pain, possible loss of motion or use of the ankle, and some trouble simply walking.
Inversion Ankle Sprain
In most circumstances, patients who have injured their ankle ligament have done so by stretching the outer ligament too far. This means that the footfalls inward, so the outer ligament is exposed to injury. The outside of the ankle will incur the pain. An eversion ankle sprain is the opposite wherein the foot twists outward, and the inner ligament is torn.
High Ankle Sprain
A less common type of ankle sprain (except in high impact sports) is the syndesmosis injury or sprain of the high ankle, which occurs from twisting or a rotational injury. These ligaments are located above the ankle and connect the tibia to the fibula for stability. The pain will be associated with activities that cause the ankle to be flexed up, such as climbing stairs rather than general walking.
Sprained Ankle Treatment At Home
Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute will give you the treatment that you need, and our doctors customize the treatment to each patient's needs. We understand that every patient’s circumstances are different and unique to them, so we take the necessary time to evaluate your condition properly and determine the best course of treatment.
For best results, prepare for your appointment using the following at-home sprained ankle treatment techniques:
Give your ankle a break. If possible, stay off of your feet throughout the day. The more time you allocate for your ankle to rest, the more likely your ankle will heal on time. Certainly, and at the very least, you will want to avoid any type of activity that causes pain, swelling, or discomfort.
Ice reduces swelling. A great way to keep your ankle from further swelling and pain is to utilize an ice pack or ice slush bath for 15-20 minutes, repeating every 2-3 hours while you’re awake.
Give support to your ankle and continue to reduce swelling through compression. An elastic bandage wrapped around your ankle (starting at the furthest end away from your heart) will provide you with the compression you need. Be sure not to wrap the bandage too tightly, so you don’t cut off circulation in your leg or foot.
Elevation reduces bruising and swelling, so raise your ankle above your heart, especially at night. Draining the excess fluid that could build up overnight will eliminate the possibility of further swelling.
Sprained Ankle Treatment Options
If your sprained ankle requires more medical intervention, various treatment options may be prescribed in addition to the R.I.C.E. method. In many cases, simply over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, or acetaminophen can be enough to manage the pain you may be feeling at your injury location. For more severe cases, our podiatrists may prescribe more serious pain relief medications.
Your ankle may need additional support to remain stabilized or immobilized during the healing process. This can range from crutches while walking to elastic bandages and sports tape or even a cast or walking boot to fully immobilize the ankle while the ligament heals.
Physical therapy and rehabilitation may be needed once your ankle has healed to regain your ankle range of motion, strength, stability, and flexibility. The extent and duration of your physical therapy will depend on how your ankle has healed and your balance and stability.
In the rarest, most severe cases, a sprained ankle may need surgery as a treatment if the injury has not healed correctly or your ankle remains unstable even after physical therapy and rehab. The surgery can repair an unhealed ligament or reconstruct a ligament with tissue from another ligament or tendon nearby.
How Long Does a Sprained Ankle Take to Heal?
As with other aspects of the healing process, the length it takes to heal a sprained ankle depends mostly on the severity of the injury. The low-grade injuries will generally heal in 1-3 weeks as long as the proper rest and other R.I.C.E. elements are followed.
The more severe the injury, the longer it takes to heal. A moderate injury could take 3-4 weeks to heal, and the most severe injuries may take anywhere between 3 to 6 months. This has to do primarily with the limited blood flow to the ligaments.
We Know Exactly What You Need
At Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute, our doctors have been trained to focus on the foot and ankle, so you can rest assured knowing that we certainly know what we are talking about. Our podiatric professionals can help you heal your ankle effectively and get you back on your feet. If you have injured your ankle and feel it may be sprained, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with us and get your ankle checked out by a specialist.
Our friendly, certified doctors are ready to help you with your foot dilemma. We are the leading experts in today’s modern foot procedures and treatments. We are committed to continuing education so that we are always up-to-date with the latest techniques.
This ensures that our patients always receive the very best treatment and return to their healthy lives as quickly as possible. Our podiatrists in Utah County are dedicated to helping you find your sure footing in life no matter what foot or ankle issue or condition you are facing. Schedule an appointment and see why we have the best foot and ankle doctors in Utah County!
Heal Your Ankle And Move On
A sprained ankle can hinder all of your daily activities. From healthy exercise to simple chores around the house, it helps tremendously to have your ankles in top shape. No matter the severity of your sprained ankle, it can have serious repercussions on your everyday life since even standing or slowly walking on, it can be painful and uncomfortable. That is why you must seek medical attention from specialists such as those at Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute.
By seeing our medical professionals, you can get your life back and continue accomplishing the goals you have set to achieve. Create the life you deserve by getting the help you need as soon as possible. When you have pain in your ankle with every step you take, it is difficult to focus on what is essential in your life. Working, cooking, relaxing, playing with the kids or pets, and pretty much every other activity in life requires you to be able to rely on your feet and ankles for stability. A sprained ankle can severely impact every aspect of your life, so it is critical to seek a medical evaluation and treatment for any foot and ankle issues.
Helping You Find Your Sure Footing In Life
If you are dealing with a sprained ankle of any grade of severity, your ankle must get examined and diagnosed by a trained professional podiatrist such as ours at Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute.
We have the knowledge, skills, and experience to diagnose your ankle’s condition accurately and provide you with the best treatment option based on your individual medical circumstances. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with our experienced doctors in Utah County and let us help you find your sure footing in life once again.
Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute will give you the treatment that you need. We customize to each patient's needs to make sure that they have the specific help they are looking for. For best results, prepare for your appointment using the following techniques.