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:
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.
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.