A sprained ankle is one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries. It occurs when the ligaments that hold the ankle in place stretch or tear. Anyone can sprain an ankle while jogging up the stairs or walking on an uneven surface, but this injury is particularly common among athletes and individuals who frequently exercise. A sprained foot can also occur when ligaments in the foot are strained, although this condition is fairly rare.
What are the symptoms of a sprained ankle?
If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, a sprained ankle may be to blame:
- Sudden pain after falling, pivoting, or stepping
- Inability to put weight on the affected foot
- Swelling and bruising
- Ankle instability
- Reduced range of motion
Be sure to promptly visit a medical professional if you notice one or more of these symptoms.
How is a sprained ankle treated?
Treatment for a sprained ankle will depend on the severity of the sprain, but until you can speak with a physician, be sure to follow the R.I.C.E. protocol:
- Rest – stop all physical activities
- Ice – place an ice pack on the affected ankle to help reduce swelling and numb pain
- Compression – wrap the ankle with an elastic bandage to help control swelling
- Elevation – Using a pillow, elevate your ankle above your heart to further reduce swelling
Once a physician has evaluated your condition, he or she may recommend immobilization with an ankle support brace, cast, or walking boot to promote proper joint alignment. Physical therapy can also help rebuild strength and flexibility after the joint has healed. In more extensive sprains, surgery to repair a torn ligament may provide the best chance at an optimal outcome.
Orthopaedic Specialists is led by award-winning, board-certified orthopedic surgeons who provide a full spectrum of sprained ankle treatment at our centers throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area. To schedule an appointment, contact our friendly team today.