Posts for tag: sprained ankle
An ankle sprain occurs when the foot rolls or twists to the point where a ligament inside stretches beyond its normal capacity. Ankle sprains are extremely common, with an estimated 25,000 sprains happening in the United States every day. Athletes and people who work outdoors or on uneven surfaces are at a higher risk for spraining their ankle. Regular wear of high-heeled shoes is also a risk factor.
Sprained ankles are diagnosed by degree; that is, the severity of the sprain and the symptoms it produces. Grade 1 sprains are the mildest, with minimal swelling and tenderness due to a slight ligament tear. Usually, Grade 1 sprains still allow for weight to be put on the ankle. Grade 2 sprains have a more significant injury to the ligament and, while walking may still be possible, it is painful. Grade 3 sprains are diagnosed when the affected ligament has sustained a complete tear and the ankle cannot bear weight. Grade 3 sprains typically display obvious bruising and swelling around the ankle.
The grade of an ankle sprain will determine the treatment. The tried-and-true RICE method - rest, ice, compression, and elevation - is usually sufficient for Grade 1 sprains. Refraining from walking, keeping the ankle elevated for the first two days, stabilizing the ankle with a compression dressing, and applying ice to reduce swelling helps the sprain resolve within 2 to 4 weeks. Grade 2 sprains also respond well to RICE treatment, although healing typically takes longer and a firmer immobilization device, like a splint, is typically recommended. Grade 3 sprains often require similar treatment used for ankle fractures; a cast or brace may be needed and surgery may be considered for some patients.
To ensure proper healing, it is important to follow the recommendations of your podiatrist. Attempting to return to normal activity too soon could result in a repeat injury or permanent ankle instability.
Many times at New England Foot & Ankle Specialists we hear patients say, “I wish I had come in sooner.” Sometimes people feel their symptoms are not serious enough or they just keep putting off making an appointment for a foot problem due to a busy schedule. The truth is that many foot and ankle conditions are best and most easily treated in their early stages. Here are 5 indicators that it’s time to call the podiatrist:
Pain—pain is your body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong. In your toes, feet or ankles pain can indicate an injury, disease or nerve problem. If pain is persistent, even if it comes and goes, a foot doctor visit is in order. Patients have been known to continue walking on a sprained ankle or fractured foot because the pain “wasn’t that bad.” To properly diagnose the source of your pain, our foot doctors, George A. Abboud, D.P.M., Brian D. Tedesco, D.P.M., Carl Conui, D.P.M., or Kimberly Thurmond, D.P.M will want to know when the pain started and whether or not it is worse with activity.
Nail Changes—a toenail changing color can be a sign of an infection or injury. Other indicators of nail problems include thickening of the nail, crumbling or peeling and redness or swelling around the nail bed.
Skin Changes—bruising or swelling with or without pain can also indicate a sprain or nerve issue in the foot or ankle. Dry, itchy, flaking skin or a rash or cracks in the skin of the foot can signal a number of different foot disorders including psoriasis, dermatitis or athlete’s foot. Blisters, corns or calluses can point to bone problem or improperly fitted footwear.
Abnormal Appearance—changes in the shape or size of the foot are causes for concern. Several toe deformities, such as bunions, hallux limitus and hammertoes can all be observed visibly.
Infection—if an area of your foot becomes very red, tender and warm to the touch you need to be concerned about infection. Other signs include red streaks coming from the affected area as well as any pus or drainage. If you have these types of symptoms and particularly if they are accompanied by a fever, you should call our Reading office at: (781) 944-4044 immediately. For patients with diabetes or peripheral artery disease, an infection carries an increased medical risk.
If you’re still in doubt about whether you need to see the foot doctor, contact our practice. We will be happy to help you find answers to your foot and ankle questions.