How is an ankle sprain diagnosed? First, your doctor will obtain a complete history of the injury in detail. For example, she will ask you when and how the ankle sprain occurred and ask about any previous injuries. Next, your doctor will examine your foot, ankle and lower leg, and even your knee to see if an additional injury has occurred. He may ask you to move your foot up and down and take a few steps if possible. Then your doctor will carefully try to move your foot and ankle to see if the ligaments are intact. You will need X-rays to evaluate your ankle. X-rays can help determine if you have ligament tears, broken bones, or bones that have moved out of their normal positions. X-rays should always be taken for children due to possible injury to the bone’s growth plate and possible disruption of normal growth. Sometimes X-rays of both ankles are necessary to compare the injured ankle with the healthy one.
How is an ankle sprain treated?
Most ankle sprains only need a period of protection to heal. The healing process takes between four and six weeks.
Rest – The first 24 to 48 hours after injury is considered a critical treatment period and activities need to be reduced. You may need to use crutches if walking causes pain. The use of a device to immobilize or splint the ankle (such as an ankle brace or walking boot) may also be necessary foot doctor Chattanooga. ICE: For the first 48 hours after the injury, apply ice and elevate the sprained ankle 20 minutes at a time every 3-4 hours. DO NOT apply ice to a sprained ankle for more than 20 minutes at a time! It will not help the ankle sprain heal faster and may damage tissues! Compression – Use compression when elevating the sprained ankle at the beginning of treatment. Using an Ace bandage, wrap the ankle from the toes to the top of the calf muscle, overlapping the elastic bandage by half the width of the bandage. The bandage should fit snugly, but without cutting off circulation to the foot and ankle. So if your foot gets cold, turns blue, or falls asleep, rewrap it! Elevation: keep the ankle sprain higher than the heart as often as possible
More serious ankle sprain injuries, including complete ligament tears and bone fractures, may require different treatment and rehabilitation than a simple ankle sprain. Things like balance exercises, range-of-motion exercises, and ultrasound, and electrical stimulation can also be used. Medications Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (such as Motrin) can be used to control pain and inflammation.
when is the surgery needed? In more serious cases or injuries that do not respond to nonsurgical treatment, surgery may be required to properly treat an ankle sprain. Surgery often involves repairing the damaged ligament or ligaments. Your foot and ankle surgeon will select the surgical procedure that is best for you based on the type and severity of your injury, as well as your level of activity.
If an ankle sprain is not recognized and is not treated with the necessary care and attention, it can lead to chronic problems of pain and instability.