Tips from an Ankle Doctor After a Sprain

The ankle is actually a very complex joint. It allows the foot to move up and down and from side to side. It also permits the foot to make a full 360-degree circle, which makes it a very mobile joint.

Additionally, the ankle does all of this while supporting the weight of the body through any movement. This puts a lot of pressure on the joint, which can result in strains (a pulling of the ligaments). Under some conditions, this pressure or force can even cause a fracture, which is why it is so important to see an ankle doctor if the pain continues or if there is excessive swelling or bruising.

Sprain or Strain?
While people may use the terms sprain and strain interchangeably, they are actually different things. A strain occurs because of an inflammation of the muscle and tendons. This is often seen with overuse or atypical use of the ankle joint. It is common when people first start jogging or boosting their activity levels.

A sprain, on the other hand, is an injury to the ligament. This is a band that connects the bones to the joint. A sprain usually occurs because of a sudden movement, such as rolling over on the ankle. The action pushes the bones in the ankle, as well as the ligaments, beyond their normal range of movement. Fractures can easily be mistaken for sprains, and only x-rays and examination by an ankle doctor can accurately diagnose the two in some situations.

Grades of Sprains
The grade of the sprain is not based on the swelling, bruising or pain that is present. It is based on the damage the movement has caused to the ligament and joint. Grade I is a mild stretch that doesn’t impact the joint, but Grade III, the most significant, includes a ligament rupture and joint instability.

What to Do
When an ankle is sprained, it can result in instant shooting pains and inability to support any weight on the foot. The best thing to do is to immediately begin the PRICE treatment.
PRICE stands for protect, rest, ice, compression and elevation. This will typically be required for about 48 to 72 hours after the injury. Never use heat or massage the affected area, do not continue to exercise, and do not use the ankle other than for controlled walking and with protection. This protection includes supporting the foot in a sneaker with a compression bandage for support.

If the pain has not subsided or is getting worse, if you cannot rotate the ankle without pain, or if swelling or bruising gets worse, see your ankle doctor immediately.
For any type of ankle sprain or injury, see our Suburban Orthopaedics ankle doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. To see more about our physicians see us at You can follow them on Twitter for further news and updates!

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