Fall is here and what a beautiful time for a walk or run. As you round the corner, you step on some wet leaves, slip and turn your ankle. Ouch! You hobble home and by the time you get in the door, your ankle has blown up twice its normal size.
Ligaments are elastic fibers that hold your ankle bones and joints in place. When you roll your ankle you twist the ligaments way beyond their normal limits and that’s what causes a sprain. At Edmond/Norman Foot & Ankle Clinic, this is one of the more common injuries that we see. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 25,000 people sprain their ankles every day—fortunately not all here in the Oklahoma City area!
What to Do
If you suspect you have sprained your ankle, contact either our Edmond or Norman office as soon as possible. Until you can see our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. A. Bil Buksh, follow the RICE protocol: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. When you come in for your appointment, the foot doctor will do a complete examination of your foot and may need to move your ankle to examine it in various positions to determine just which ligaments have been damaged. The podiatrist may also order an x-ray to make sure that you have not broken any bones in your ankle. (A broken bone can have similar symptoms to a sprain.)
Sprains are graded 1, 2, or 3 based on their severity. Your foot doctor will be able to identify what grade of sprain has occurred and what the best treatment will be for you. Treatment options may include the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, splinting or casting, exercises, and, in extremely bad cases, surgery. For faster healing, be sure to follow all of your foot doctor’s orders, especially when it comes to resting your ankle. A sprain that is not treated properly or allowed to heal completely can result in chronic lateral ankle pain or other disabilities down the road.
Of course preventing a sprain in the first place beats any treatment. Make sure you warm up thoroughly before exercise—no shortcuts. Pay attention to the surface where you are walking, running, or doing other activities. Something as seemingly harmless as a dip in the pavement or an uneven patch of sidewalk can cause the foot to turn. Always wear properly designed and fitted shoes for the activity you are doing. Lastly, listen to your body. If you are feeling fatigued or are experiencing any pain, stop the activity and take a rest—that’s the time your body is most likely to go off alert and accidents can occur.
For more information about sprains or other sports injuries, visit our online patient library. We look forward to serving you.