Whether you work on your feet, like to take walks or play sports, one of the most common injury you will encounter is an ankle sprain or "sprained ankle". Because these injuries are quite common, we often convince ourselves that is it just a minor injury. I commonly hear patients (or friends and neighbors) say they "just rolled an ankle," They may even feel they don't need to see a doctor in American Fork, Utah to be treated. But after periods of days to weeks the pain continues and the swelling is still problematic. The truth is, this can be more of a problem than you understand.
Ankle sprains are serious injuries that need to be treated quickly and accurately to assure that you return more easily to full strength and ankle stability. An ankle sprain is actually a stretching or tearing of ligaments of the ankle and can lead to weakness of the ankle or even significant ankle instability if not treated.
Lateral Ankle Sprain
Although there are mulitple ligaments that support the ankle and any one of these can be injured, the most common ankle sprain involves "twisting in" of the foot (called an inversion ankle sprain). This can happen in sports when the momentum (or someone elses momentum) causes rolling of the ankle after a suddon stop or direction change. It may also happen when walking on an uneven surface or stepping in a hole. The audible "pop" or even the feeling of a "pop" usually indicates a more extensive injury.
The common presentation will include pain, swelling and bruising. Often pain and swelling can be significant even without a fracture. An important part of evaluation should include confirmation, however, that no fracture (even a stress fracture) is present because the treatments are often different.
The initial treatment should include the RICE principle: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. These are designed to improve healing and speed recovery. Heat is not recommended at this time.
After the initial treatment, additional treatments including proper exercises, bracing and splinting may be necessary to keep you active and limit reinjury while recovering. It is therefore important that you see a specialist to evaluate this problem. We at Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute can provide this care in our Utah podiatry office.