What is a sprain?ankle sprain

An ankle sprain is an injury to one or more of the ligaments and tissues that help to support and stabilize the ankle joint. In most cases, ligaments get injured by some type of twisting or torquing motion that stretches or tears the ligaments due to excessive force. Most ankle sprains occur during athletic activity but can happen anytime from wearing the wrong shoes to a simple misstep.

All too often when faced with a potentially serious ankle injury, the warning signs are ignored. Ignoring the warning signs and not receiving proper treatment for your injury will not only increase your healing time but can lead to chronic foot and ankle problems.

4 Mistakes Made When Suffering an Ankle Injury:

1. Not immediately applying the “RICE” principle. Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation are good basic principles to apply to any injury. For an ankle injury getting off of your feet, elevating the injured foot above the heart and applying as ice bag (or frozen vegetables) should be done immediately. Applying an ACE wrap shortly thereafter can also be helpful. 

RICE method

2. Not having the injury evaluated by a professional. Swelling and bruising are signs of a soft tissue injury. But you can NOT tell by looking which tissue is injured. Twisting injuries of the ankle can result in fractures, dislocations, and if severe enough even tendon or ligament ruptures. These are injuries with the potential for long term ramifications as serious as arthritis, chronic instability and pain with daily walking and should not be ignored!


3. Going to the emergency room. The knee-jerk reaction with any acute injury is to go to the emergency room and at times that may be the best or only option. The problem with going to the ER for an ankle sprain or injury is that the doctor is going to see your injury as either black or white. In other words, if something is not broken or falling off then it’s not serious to them.

They will send you away with a cold pack and an ACE wrap and instructions to see a specialist in a few weeks if it doesn't feel better. If you have a choice you should go straight to a podiatrist or other foot specialist who will approach your injury thinking about both the short term and long term ramifications.


4. Not sticking to the treatment plan.  Most people think that they can start resuming normal activities within the first week or two as the swelling and bruising start to dissipate and they can bear full weight on the injured area. Then they’re surprised when, two months after the injury, they still have pain! By then it could be too late. Chronic pain from an ankle injury that was not properly treated at the outset, can last for months or even years.

Heal faster from your sports injury by getting treatment from a qualified foot and ankle specialist.  Schedule an Appointment Today by Calling (562) 433-0478.



Related Articles:

Top 4 Signs Your Ankle Injury Is Serious


Richard H. Graves, DPM
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Podiatrist, Sports Medicine Specialist