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Did you know that 50,000 people sprain their ankles every day? You may remember spraining your ankle as a child while playing ball or unexpectedly stepping on an uneven surface. Athletes face the potential of sprained ankles every time they step on a ball field, jump a hurdle, or run a race!
At times, you might get a twisting feeling in your ankles, but the pain fades away quickly and you can continue what you were doing without additional pain. However, a more severe sprain may cause your ankles to swell, making it far too painful to stand. Sometimes with a bad sprain you or your loved one can even feel a “pop” as you get injured.
Ankle sprains happen when one or more ligaments on the outer side of your ankle get torn or stretched. The ankle typically rolls inward or outward. When you have pain along the inner side of your ankle, always seek the advice of a Houston podiatrist as this may indicate a very serious injury to the tendons or to the ligaments that support your foot arch.
Podiatrist Dr. Vargas uses advanced digital x-ray technology to tell whether you have a sprain or your bone has broken. If you or your loved one cannot bear weight after an injury or if the foot swells or looks deformed, call him right away, and he will prioritize your care with a same day appointment. Make sure to let him know what was going on when you sprained your ankle. Most likely, you or your loved one will not need to have surgery.
For minor sprains, remember the word R.I.C.E.
R – Rest your ankle and do not walk on it. Do not put weight on the feet unless you really must. Use crutches if you need them. If your foot is not fractured, you can safely put a little weight on it. Use an ankle brace to stabilize your feet and control swelling while the ligaments heal.
I – Ice your ankle to keep swelling down. Do not put ice directly on your skin. Instead, use a pillow case between your ice pack and your skin. Watch the time carefully. More than 20 minutes of ice at a time can cause frost bite!
C – Compress. Use an ankle sleeve to control swelling and to keep your ankle still as you get better. You can find an ankle sleeve at the store right in our office. Podiatrist Dr. Vargas may also recommend a splint to keep your ankle perfectly still as you heal.
E – Elevate. Sit in a reclined position and prop your foot above your waist or heart level.
Your swelling will usually go down in a few days. If your sprain is serious, do not delay calling us for treatment. Ignoring a bad sprain can lead to lasting or permanent damage. Athletes who compete should always have their ankles checked thoroughly!