Ankle Sprain

Most ankle sprains happen when you’re playing sports. This is especially true for games where there’s a lot of running and jumping. Yet it’s also just as easy to sprain your ankle by walking on the beach or stepping into a hole in your backyard.

An ankle sprain may clear up on its own over the course of a few months. However if your pain is bothersome, especially when you put weight on the injured ankle, it is best to see your foot doctor to rul out serious injury.

You will want to rule out any serious injuries and get the care you need.

Ankle Sprain Symptoms

When an ankle is injured with a sprain, tendon injury, or fracture, inflammation occurs. Blood vessels become “leaky” and allow fluid to ooze into the soft tissue surrounding the joint. White blood cells responsible for inflammation migrate to the area, and blood flow increases as well. Typical changes that happen with inflammation, include the following:

Swelling because of increased fluid in the tissue: Sometimes the swelling is so severe that you can leave an indentation in the swollen area by pressing on it with your finger.

Pain because the nerves are more sensitive: The joint hurts and may throb. You can often make the pain worse by pressing on the sore area, by moving the foot in certain directions (depending upon which ligament is involved), or by walking or standing.

Redness and warmth caused by increased blood flow to the area.

When to Seek Medical Care

Usually, an ankle sprain itself does not call for a trip to the doctor. The problem is how to tell a sprain from a more serious injury such as a fracture. If the following happen, you should contact your doctor:

Your pain is severe or uncontrolled, in spite of over-the-counter medications, elevation, and ice.

You cannot walk or cannot walk without severe pain.

Your ankle fails to improve within 5-7 days. The pain need not be gone, but it should be improving.

A follow-up visit 1-2 weeks after the injury is advisable to help with flexibility and strengthening exercises.

The indications to go to a hospital’s emergency department are similar to those for which to call the doctor. The following conditions suggest you might have a fracture, or you may need a splint for pain control.

Severe or uncontrolled pain

Foot or ankle is misshapen or extremely swollen

Cannot walk without pain

Severe pain when pressing over the medial or lateral malleolus, the bony bumps on each side of the ankle

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