Here are the best strategies to follow to achieve a full recovery from a sprained ankle.
A sprained ankle is incredibly common and can happen to anyone. Whether you stepped off the curb awkwardly or you twisted your ankle while running, there are many reasons that you may find yourself dealing with a sprained ankle; however, it’s important that you don’t just ignore your symptoms. Here’s when to treat an ankle at home and when you should visit our Gainesville, VA, podiatrist, Dr. Mukesh Bhakta, for a proper evaluation.
Treating Your Ankle Sprain at Home
As you might expect, you want to reduce pain and swelling as quickly as possible after an ankle injury. Practice the RICE method to do so:
Rest is, by far, the most important thing you can do to help your ankle heal quickly. Avoid putting weight on the ankle and keep your ankle elevated above your heart while sitting down (this can reduce swelling). You should also wrap an ice pack (or a frozen bag of a pea, if you don’t have an ice pack) with a towel and apply it to the ankle for 15-20 minutes up to five times a day. Icing the ankle can temporarily numb the pain and reduce swelling.
When to See a Podiatrist
If you’ve never sprained your ankle before it’s probably a good idea to see a medical professional who can properly diagnose the injury. After all, you may think it’s just a sprain, but it could actually be a more serious condition. It’s important to rule out other problems such as fractures or dislocations.
You should see a podiatrist right away if:
- Pain and swelling are severe
- You are unable to put weight on the affected ankle
- There is a visible deformity in the ankle after injury
- You heard a popping sound at the moment of impact or injury
- There is tingling, numbness, or weakness in the foot or ankle
Since a sprained ankle is more at risk for future sprains, it’s important that you follow your podiatrist’s treatment plan exactly. Our team can provide a variety of stretching and strengthening exercises designed to retrain the muscles, ligaments, and tissues within and around the ankle to prevent future injuries.
If you are dealing with urgent problems or a foot infection, our podiatrist is still providing immediate and emergency care to patients living in and around Gainesville, VA. We are also offering telemedicine visits for patients who are dealing with non-urgent issues. To schedule an appointment, please call Prince William Foot & Ankle Center at (703) 753-3338.