Sprains

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What happens when a person sprains his or her ankle? — When a person sprains his or her ankle, the ankle joint turns too far in a particular direction. Inside the ankle are tough bands of tissue called ligaments, which hold the different bones together. During a sprain, one or more of those ligaments stretch too far or even tear. This can cause pain and swelling, make the ankle unsteady, and make it hard to put weight on the ankle.

What are the symptoms of ankle sprain? — The symptoms can include pain, tenderness, swelling, and bruising at the ankle. Some people with an ankle sprain also find it hard to move the foot in certain directions. Plus, some people cannot put weight on the ankle.

Is there a test for ankle sprain? — Yes and no. A doctor should be able to tell if you have a sprain by doing an exam and learning about what happened to your ankle. He or she might move your foot in different directions to see what hurts and to check how loose your ankle feels.

In some cases, our doctor might order an X-ray to check for broken bones, but that is not always needed.

How is ankle sprain treated by Dr.Paul Kattupalli? 

Treatment for a sprained ankle is easy to remember if you think of the word “RICE.” Here’s what those letters stand for:

Rest – To rest the ankle, you can use crutches and stay off your feet.

Ice – Apply a cold gel pack, bag of ice, or bag of frozen vegetables on your ankle every 1 to 2 hours, for 15 minutes each time. Put a thin towel between the ice (or other cold object) and your skin. Use the ice (or other cold object) for at least 6 hours after your injury. Some people find it helpful to ice longer, even up to 2 days after their injury.

Compression – Compression basically means pressure. You want to have your ankle under slight pressure by having it wrapped in an elastic “compression” bandage. This helps reduce swelling and supports the ankle. It’s important that you do not use too much pressure and cut off the blood flow to your foot.

Elevation – “Elevation” means you should keep your foot raised up above the level of your heart. To do this, you can put your foot on some pillows or blankets while you are lying down, or on a table or chair while you are sitting.

You can also take medicines to relieve pain, such as acetaminophen  (sample brand name: Tylenol), ibuprofen  (sample brand names: Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (sample brand name: Aleve).

People who have a mild sprain do not usually need to use a splint to keep their foot and ankle still. But people who have a more severe sprain sometimes do.

In rare cases, Dr.Paul might refer you to surgery to repair a torn ligament caused by an ankle sprain.

Is there anything I can do on my own to feel better? — Yes. Most people who have had an ankle sprain heal more quickly if they do certain exercises. The right exercises for you will depend on what kind of sprain you have and how severe it is. Dr.Paul will teach you which exercises you should do when you visit our clinic.

As time passes, slowly build up the activities you do with your foot and ankle. You might have an easier time doing some activities if you wear a brace or splint on your ankle during your recovery.

 

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