Ankle sprain treatment aims to treat injuries that tear or stretch the tough tissues that hold the bones in the ankle together. Ligaments help to stabilize your joints, and they prevent you from hurting them with excessive movements. An ankle becomes sprained when the ligaments are stretched past their normal range of motion, typically due to twisting, turning or rolling the ankle in an abnormal way. The ligaments that are located on the outer side of the ankle typically sustain the most damage.
How a podiatrist decides to go about providing ankle sprain treatment depends on the severity of the patient's injury. Mild sprains can be treated with over-the-counter medication, ointments and other self-care measures. More severe sprains might require surgical treatment.
Who needs ankle sprain treatment?
Regardless of the severity of the patient's injury, a medical evaluation is needed so appropriate treatment can be administered.
Signs an ankle has been sprained include:
- Pain that increases when the person puts weight on the foot
- Tenderness and pain when the ankle is touched
- Bruising around the ankle
- A limited range of motion
- A popping sound heard when the injury occurs
- Poor ankle stability
- Swelling around the ankle
Anyone who exhibits these symptoms is advised to have their ankle checked out by a healthcare professional. While minor sprains can heal with self-care, patients might have significant injuries that require treatment, like broken bones in the ankle if the sprain is severe.
Common ways people sprain their ankles include:
- Falling and twisting the ankle in the process
- Landing awkwardly after jumping
- Walking or running on uneven surfaces
- Someone stepping on a foot during a physical activity
Diagnosing ankle sprains
The first step towards ankle sprain treatment is getting a professional diagnosis. This usually consists of the podiatrist examining the patient's foot, ankle and lower extremities. The doctor may push on areas around the ankle checking for tenderness. The patient will be asked to move their foot so the doctor can evaluate their range of motion.
Depending on the results of the physical examination, the podiatrist might order more tests like:
- X-rays: These are used to detect broken bones
- CT scans: These reveal details about the bones in the ankles
- Ultrasound scans: These are used to evaluate tendons and ligaments
- Magnetic resonance imaging tests (MRI): These are used to evaluate the soft structures around the ankles
Treatment options for ankle sprains
The treatments a doctor might use to deal with an ankle sprain include:
- Medication: Over-the-counter medication can be used to manage the pain caused by an ankle sprain. The doctor can provide prescriptions for stronger painkillers if necessary
- Walking aids: The patient might need devices like crutches to help them with mobility, or a walking boot might be needed to immobilize the ankle if the patient has a severe sprain
- Therapy: The doctor might show the patient exercises that help to restore stability, flexibility and strength. Such exercises help to restore the patient's range of motion.
- Surgery: Surgical procedures might be performed in rare cases. They can be used to reconstruct damaged ligaments that have failed to heal
Restore your mobility with ankle sprain treatment
An ankle sprain can leave you in pain and unable to move about as you would like. Visit our podiatrist for diagnosis and treatment so you can get back to doing all the things you enjoy.
Request an appointment here: https://www.pocatellopodiatry.com or call Ambulatory Foot & Ankle Clinic at (208) 803-0010 for an appointment in our Pocatello office.
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