3 Treatments for a Sprained Ankle

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Even though ankle sprains and strains are very common and even though people are aware that their ankles may twist and break, the injury still happens rather unexpectedly for most. The lack of attention while staring at your “smart” phone while crossing the street can lead you to miss the step at the curb and roll over on your ankle as you fall down and cringe in pain while almost certainly retaining a firm grasp on your precious phone!

While paying less attention to your phone while crossing the street may be difficult, always remember to promptly treat an ankle sprain or strain to avoid making things much worse in the near future.

3 essential treatments for an ankle sprain include the following:

1)    Rest, Icing, Compression, and Elevation (the RICE method)—Take the weight off of the foot as soon as you can. A relatively minor sprain can be made much worse by continuing to walk on the foot. Lie down and raise your foot as soon as you get home. Wrap a compression bandage (not too tight!) around your ankle.

2)    Immobilization and weight redistribution—While your ankle is healing you have to keep weight off of it by using crutches (not a favorite method!), or a rigid boot to immobilize the ankle joint. Your foot doctor can set you up with a fabulous boot that will help keep you mobile. Custom made orthotic inserts that are molded to your precise foot shape will help maintain foot and ankle integrity. Properly fitted shoes are also essential.

3)    Physical therapy exercises—Immobilization is very important during initial healing but it is also very important to slowly strengthen and improve flexibility in the ankle joint while it is actively healing so that you don’t “heal” with too much rigidity. A sprain that heals without any flexing is just going to fail again. Gentle flexing and ankle rotation exercises should gradually be increased in intensity over the course of the healing process. Your foot doctor can help monitor your progress and provide exercise guidelines for your specific injury.

Always have severe ankle sprains treated with the assistance of your podiatrist because improper treatment can lead to incomplete healing which could leave your ankle more susceptible to injury in the future. At Fit Feet for Life, our team of board-certified podiatrists has access to advanced technologies and years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, including heel pain, sports injuries, toe deformities, nail fungus, and plantar warts.  Bonnie Sanchez, DPM, Gregory Cook, DPM, and Huy L. Nguyen, DPM provide high-quality foot and ankle care to patients in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area at our five offices conveniently located in Sun City Center, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, and our two Tampa locations. Please contact us for more information or to schedule an appointment.