Did you know ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries? And research shows that up to 70% of people who sustain these injuries experience ongoing issues, including chronic ankle instability.
But there’s good news: You can take steps to reduce your risk of problems and recurring injury in the future.
Our experts at Premier Foot and Ankle Center treat ankle injuries on a regular basis at all of our locations in Massachusetts. And there’s a reason this part of the body can cause chronic problems. People often underestimate the damage since it doesn’t involve a broken bone.
Don’t let that increase your chances of ongoing ankle instability. If you sustain a sprain, take the right steps to ensure ligaments in the area heal correctly.
Start RICE immediately
No, we’re not talking about the grain. You should consider the RICE method your first line of defense after an injury. These letters stand for:
- Rest: Use your ankle as little as possible for the first 24-48 hours
- Ice: Apply cold for 15-20 minutes, 3-5 times each day
- Compression: Wrap it with an elastic bandage or sleeve
- Elevation: Keep the area elevated, ideally at or above the heart
This process can help relieve ankle pain and swelling, while promoting flexibility and healing at the same time.
Get medical care
Unfortunately, many people skip a trip to the doctor because an ankle injury seems minor. But turning, rolling, or twisting the ankle in an awkward manner can tear or stretch the ligaments holding this joint together.
It’s true that ankle sprains can vary in severity, but a medical evaluation can determine how badly you’ve damaged these tough bands of tissue. Waiting too long to see an expert can lead to additional issues, so don’t ignore symptoms that don’t improve within a few days.
It’s also crucial to seek medical care immediately if your symptoms include:
- Severe pain or swelling
- Open wounds or severe deformities
- Redness, warmth, tenderness, or other signs of infection
You should also see a doctor as soon as possible if you can’t bear weight on the affected foot.
Have a recovery plan
We all have the same goals when an injury occurs — to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible. But you must have a rehabilitation plan and patience when it involves an ankle sprain.
Remember, it takes time to heal. For a mild sprain, that can mean up to four weeks. When it’s severe, you’re looking at several months. And without the right care, you run the risk of instability and recurring injuries in the future.
After we assess the severity of your ankle sprain, we might recommend a variety of treatments, such as:
- Bracing to provide additional support
- Physical therapy to restore range of motion, strength, and flexibility
- Surgery to reconstruct or repair ligament damage
We also work with you to ensure you have the strategies you need to avoid reinjury in the future, especially if you engage in athletic activities.
Our sports medicine consultations offer personalized strategies based on your medical history and the sports you play to keep you in peak performance and injury-free.
Did you sprain your ankle? A solid recovery plan can reduce your risk of chronic problems. Contact us at Premier Foot and Ankle Center to schedule an evaluation in Webster or Worcester, Massachusetts, today.