Ankle Sprain, When to See the Ankle Doctor

Ankle Sprain: When to See the Ankle Doctor

An avid athlete works around the clock for perfection on the playing field by spending countless hours training and exercising. Their feet and ankles take a beating as wear and tear increases the risk of injury. Without proper rest and nourishment, the ankle can give way at any moment. One false move and you can cause an ankle sprain. If is not a severe pain that needs immediate medical assistance, the ankle may be strained and needs time to rest and recover.

Ankle Sprains and Arthritis

Most people experience at least one sprained ankle, which is common and treatable, but multiple injuries to the ankle can result in ankle arthritis. Ankle arthritis, also known as osteoarthritis, is general wear and tear of the ankle joint. All joints in the body have a layer of cartilage that allows smooth motion in joints. Patients with ankle arthritis have degeneration and destruction of the cartilage in the joint, and when the bones grind on the joint it produces pain. As a result, the movement at the joint is not as smooth and there is often a reduction of motion that affects the patient’s ability to walk.

Ankle arthritis mostly occurs in aged people unless an individual suffers multiple injuries. Over time the weight, stress and heavy activity can degrade the cartilage. Often times the degeneration of the ankle are accelerated if the joint is misaligned. Therefore, a misaligned ankle left untreated leads to osteoarthritis. To avoid all of this pain and suffering, there are a number of things to be done at home to treat an ankle sprain.

Ankle Sprain Treatment & Recovery

According to an article on WebMD, an ankle sprain can take four weeks to six months in order to properly heal, depending on the severity of the injury.

Photo of an ankle sprain before treatment from an ankle doctor

The best thing to do to treat a sprained ankle is to give it rest. Rest will give the ligaments time to relax and heal properly. Resting the joints are necessary to prevent future sprains. Do not do any strenuous activities including running, weight lifting or mobile drills that need the feet to run and cut at sharp angles.

Apply ice as often as needed to reduce pain and swelling. Your parents always told you when you were younger to put some ice on if something hurts. It still applies as an adult. Once at home, apply an ice pack for at least 15 minutes or soak the ankle in a tub of ice to reduce the initial pain and swelling. After the first application of ice, wait 15 to 20 minutes then re-apply ice for another 15 minutes and repeat the procedure until it is time to sleep. In between each session of icing it is vital not to walk or put pressure on the ankle until it regains warmth, so wait for 10 minutes after icing to walk on it.

Wrap an elastic bandage around the ankle to compress the joints and reduce swelling. This can be done after a few sessions of icing or compress the ankle while icing. If the wrap is too tight, loosen it so blood flow can circulate throughout the foot.

Elevate the ankle. In between icing, the ankle should be raised and rested on a soft pillow or cushion raised above the heart. Elevation will help drain the fluid from the ankle.

If the pain is initially gruesome take pain relievers, like extra strength tylenol or ibuprofen. This will help ease the pain while icing and elevating.

After treatment try light stretching and applying pressure. It allows the ankle joint and ligaments to regain strength and also tells the body what the limits are and how much pain there is with every movement.

When to an Ankle Doctor

If symptoms are incredibly painful or persist past a week from the initial injury, the individual should visit an ankle doctor. If it is still painful to put any weight on your ankle then it is a severe injury that needs further examination from an ankle doctor. Depending on how severe the ankle sprain appears in examination the ankle doctor will advise what needs to be done to regain strength.

Treating a sprained ankle at home is simple. The individual needs to pay attention and know how much pain and swelling there is every day after the ankle sprain. If the swelling and pain do not pass within a week or get worse, then make an appointment with a ankle doctor. Get the treatment you need to regain mobility. You are only given two ankles, do what needs to be done to keep them strong and healthy.

About the Author:

University Foot & Ankle Institute of Southern California have top ankle doctors serving the Greater Los Angeles area.

Dr. Bob Baravarian

Dr. Bob Baravarian

Dr. Bob Baravarian is a Board Certified Podiatric Foot and Ankle Specialist. He is currently a member of UCLA Medical Group, Chief of Podiatric Surgery at Santa Monica/UCLA medical center and Orthopedic Hospital and an assistant clinical professor at the UCLA School of Medicine. He also serves as co-director of University Foot and Ankle Institute. He is Editor Emeritus of the international medical journal, Foot and Ankle Specialist.

Dr. Baravarian been involved in athletics his entire life and played competitive tennis in high school and college. He has an interest in sports medicine, arthritis therapy and trauma/reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle. He servers as a consultant to the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) tour, multiple running organizations and several shoe manufacturers. He is also fluent in five languages (English, French, Spanish, Farsi and Hebrew),

Podiatrist Dr. Bob Baravarian is available for consultation at the Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks and UCLA Westwood offices.
Dr. Bob Baravarian

One comment

  1. That is good to know that if symptoms are incredibly painful or persist a week after the initial injury, you should visit an ankle doctor. My daughter sprained her ankle during basketball and it is still really hurting her. I will have to take her to an ankle doctor to see what is wrong. Thank you for the information!

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