Getting to the Core of Ankle Sprains

Sprained ankle

The most common cause of persistent ankle pain is incomplete or improper healing after an ankle sprain. Don’t let this happen to you! Learn how to spot a sprained ankle and follow helpful tips to get on the mend quickly.

What Causes Ankle Sprains?

A sprained ankle means one or more ligaments attached to your anklebone have stretched or torn. This can happen if your ankle is forced out of its normal position. Here are some examples of ways an ankle can become sprained:

  • You fall and twist or roll your ankle.
  • You land awkwardly and put excessive stress on your ankle.
  • Another person steps or lands on your foot while playing sports.
  • You walk, run, or exercise on an uneven surface.

Ankle Sprain Symptoms

Sprained ankles range in severity from a mild ligament stretch to a complete tear. The symptoms vary depending on how bad the injury is. These may include:

  • Ankle pain, especially when attempting to put weight on the affected foot
  • Tenderness
  • Heat and swelling
  • Bruising or skin discoloration
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Ankle instability
  • Popping sensation or sound when the injury occurs

How to Prevent Spraining Your Ankle

Protect your ankles from injury with these tips:

  • Stretch and warm up before exercising or playing sports.
  • Avoid walking, running, or working out on sloped or uneven ground.
  • Wear a support brace or tape your ankle if it’s weak or has been injured previously.
  • Wear properly fitting shoes made for your activity.
  • Avoid wearing high heels.
  • Focus on building muscle strength, increasing flexibility, and improving balance.

Sprained Ankle Treatment

If not treated properly, a sprained ankle can cause long-term problems, including instability, increased risk of future sprains, chronic ankle pain, and arthritis of the ankle. To avoid these complications, treat your sprained ankle right away and allow it to heal completely before resuming your normal activities. Here’s how to heal a sprained ankle:

  • Take the RICE approach for the first two or three days. This involves resting, icing your ankle, compressing the joint with an elastic bandage, and elevating your foot to reduce swelling.
  • Relieve pain with medication, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium.
  • Use medical devices to ease discomfort while walking. Mild sprains may benefit from an elastic bandage or sports tape, while severe injuries may call for an ankle brace or walking boot and crutches.
  • Undergo physical therapy to restore your strength, stability, and range of motion.
  • Get surgery if your sprain is severe and doesn’t heal using more conservative methods.

If you think you have a sprained ankle, seek medical treatment at Total Point Urgent Care. We provide walk-in services for sprains and strains at a fraction of the cost of an emergency room visit. Plus, our 12 neighborhood clinics in Texas and Arizona offer warm, efficient, and personalized care. Stop by a location near you today or contact us online to ask questions.

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