The most common ankle injury by far is a sprain. Joints are surrounded and supported by tough bands of tissues called ligaments. Ligaments prevent the joint from mobility beyond its range limit. When action occurs that exceed these normal boundaries the ligament may tear, which is called a sprain. Most sprains occur to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle.
In many instances of sprained ankles they respond well to treatment at home, but this depends on the extent of the injury. Dr. Vargas would need to examine your ankle to determine the severity, and then treat it appropriately. He also may need to rule out an underlying injury such as a stress fracture. Not receiving the proper treatment can prolong the recovery.
Symptoms of a sprain include:
- Swelling and possibly bruising
- Restricted movement of the affected ankle
You are at greater risk of spraining an ankle if you participate in sports or if you have sprained your ankle before. Demanding sports such as basketball, tennis, soccer and football where a lot of stop, start and lateral moves create more likelihood of a sprain injury. Also, an even greater risk exists if you are moving on an uneven surface, such as trail runners. You don’t have to be an athlete to sprain an ankle though. It can happen to anyone simply by stepping off a curb or placing your foot wrong and falling off the edge of a sidewalk.
You can dramatically help your situation if you can quickly get off your foot, apply ice or a cold pack, wrap a compression bandage around it and elevate the affected foot above your heart. Remember this by the acronym RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. You can take over-the-counter pain medication if necessary. This may be the only treatment you will require, but you should contact Dr. Vargas at (281) 313-0090 or (281) 342-8700 and have him advise you.
If you have a more serious sprain, you may need to wear an ankle brace. Allow Dr. Vargas to advise you when it is appropriate for you to resume normal activity, especially if your injury is sports related. Failure to follow proper treatment and recovery guidelines puts you at risk of chronic pain, continued instability of the ankle or arthritis. Getting advice from a physical therapist and beginning exercises to strengthen and improve mobility in your ankle may reduce your recovery time. The Sports Medicine Clinic has cutting edge philosophy and training techniques that will help get you back in the game quickly.