A simple misstep can suddenly result in a sprained ankle in people of all ages. A sprained ankle happens when ligaments in the ankle get torn or stretched, causing swelling, pain, and difficulty walking. Foot pain treatment can help heal a severely injured ankle and maintain its stability and range of motion. Here are a few things to know about sprained ankles and how to treat them:
Types of Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains consist of three main types depending on how much damage occurs to the ligament. They include:
Mild pain: The ligament fibers stretch slightly, causing a small tear. You’ll experience minor tenderness and swelling when you touch the ankle.
Moderate pain: The ligament gets torn but without a complete tear. The injury causes ankle swelling, and you’ll feel pain when moving.
Severe pain: The ligament gets torn entirely, and the ankle swells significantly, causing pain and making it hard to walk.
Treatment for Sprained Ankles
Treatment varies based on the seriousness of the injury. Foot pain treatment aims to reduce swelling and pain, restore proper ankle function, and promote the healing of the ankle ligament. Appropriate treatment prevents chronic issues such as an inability to get back to sports, ankle pain or instability, and degenerative arthritis. Here are treatment options for sprained ankles:
This treatment involves avoiding activities that can result in swelling, pain, or discomfort. Use an ice pack several times throughout the day. If you have decreased sensation, vascular disease, or diabetes, consult your healthcare provider before applying ice. To stop swelling, use an elastic bandage to compress the ankle. Don’t wrap it too tight, as that may hinder circulation. Elevate your ankle, especially at night, since gravity helps to minimize swelling by draining the excess fluid.
Medications and Devices
Over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen, naproxen sodium, or ibuprofen can help manage the pain effectively in mild cases. Waking with a sprained ankle can be painful, and you may have to use crutches until the pain subsides. Based on the severity of the sprain, your healthcare provider can recommend an ankle support brace, sports tape, or elastic bandage to stabilize your ankle. A walking boot or cast may be needed to mobilize your ankle for a severe sprain as it heals.
Once the pain and swelling have subsided enough and you start moving, your doctor may ask you to do some exercises. Exercises help to restore your ankle’s strength, stability, flexibility, and range of motion. Stability and balance training help the muscles in your ankles work together to support the joint and prevent recurrent sprains. If your sprained ankle resulted from participating in a sport or exercising, consult your doctor before resuming the activity. They may want you to do movement tests to tell if your ankle is fully healed before allowing you to continue to play the sport.
Surgery may be the only solution when the injury fails to heal, or your ankle remains unstable after an extended period of rehabilitation exercise and physical therapy. If your healthcare provider suspects that your sprained ankle requires surgery, they’ll perform X-rays and, if needed, an MRI. These tests will let them know the severity of the damage. You may require surgery if a history of repeated sprains shows that ligament reconstruction is necessary. There should be evidence of one or several ankle ligaments needing repair. An associated injury like a wholly or partially torn tendon, cartilage damage, or ankle joint fracture can also require surgery.
Find a Reliable Foot Pain Treatment Service
Choose a foot pain treatment service that can provide quality care throughout your treatment for sprained ankles. Their team should offer unparalleled expertise during treatment to increase the chances of a speedy recovery. Find a service that provides a variety of surgical and conservative treatments, including minimally invasive techniques to relieve your symptoms.