Diablo Foot & Ankle specializes in
Foot and Ankle Sprain Treatment
When you go to the doctor for a foot or ankle injury, your doctor will likely check for a sprain. In doing so, he or she will examine the affected area and the surrounding areas. These will usually include the lower leg, ankle, and foot. Your doctor will touch the areas to check for tenderness and inflammation as well as rotate or move the surrounding joints to check for mobility. In doing this, he or she will also ascertain the positions that cause pain or discomfort.
After this, it may be necessary for you to undergo other scans or tests to determine whether or not you indeed have a foot or ankle sprain. These tests can include:
- X-ray: Since X-rays are great for showing bones, they can help to rule-out breaks or fractures in the foot or ankle.
- CT Scan: CT scans compile multiple X-rays to show cross-sectional or 3D images. They are great for showing joints and small bones.
- MRI: MRI images are also cross-sectional or 3D and show ligaments clearly.
- Ultrasound: Ultrasounds are good for showing real-time images and are used to show the bones and joints in different positions as well as moving images during motion.
Sprain Foot Treatment Options
Treatment for a sprained foot will vary depending upon the severity of the injury. There are, generally speaking, three grades or levels of sprain, mild (grade I), moderate (grade II), and severe (grade III). With a mild sprain, your ligaments are stretched, but not torn. Your ankle still feels stable, but you may have swelling and moderate pain. With a moderate sprain, one or more ligaments are partially torn. The joint is not totally stable, and you can’t move it as much as usual. You will have swelling and moderate pain. With a severe sprain, one or more ligaments are totally torn, and your ankle is unstable. You will have a lot of pain and won’t be able to move it. The goals of the sprained ankle treatment for ankle sprain should include reduction of swelling, pain management, restoration of function and mobility, as well as the promotion of healing of the ligament or ligaments. In severe cases, you may be referred to a musculoskeletal specialist. There are problems that can develop over time if you don’t treat a sprained ankle, or if you try to do too much before complete healing, or if you sprain it more than once. These complications include an unstable joint, pain, arthritis, or even injuring the other ankle resulting from changes, or compensations in the way you walk, or your gait cycle.
Self Care Options
- Rest: You should always rest a sprained foot or ankle as often as possible. It is during the resting periods that your injuries heal. Rest also keeps you from hurting the ankle again or putting stress on inflamed tissue. A brace or splint can take the pressure off the joint.
- Ice: Ice should be used on the affected area to reduce inflammation and pain, and is probably the best treatment. Put it on your ankle to lower blood flow and help with swelling, redness, and warmth. It can prevent inflammation if you do it quickly after an injury.
- Compression: Compression is also important in reducing inflammation and pain, as it can keep down swelling. Use an elastic bandage or wrap until the swelling goes down. Always start wrapping at the point farthest from your heart, and be careful not to wrap so tightly that you cut off blood flow.
- Elevation: Elevating the sprained foot or ankle promotes optimal circulation and faster healing, while controlled swelling. The injured area needs to be kept up as high as possible, which will help your body to absorb extra fluid. It’s best to prop your ankle up so that it’s higher than your heart.
Devices to Help
Your doctor may advise that you use crutches and/or a brace to aid in keeping the pressure off of the foot and ankle as well as to decrease the movement so that you will have ample healing-time. These devices will likely be advised along with advice to use them only if you find it difficult or impossible to devote time to rest.
The specialists at Diablo Foot and Ankle have plenty of experience treating sprains. Give us a call to schedule an appointment today. We are here for you.