Every day 25,000 people sprain their ankle. The injury can result during sports or exercise, but often happens because of a misstep off a curb or step.

Sprains are often mild and heal with rest and at-home care. But serious sprains require medical intervention from experienced podiatrists, like those at Go Feet in Mays Landing, and Linwood, New Jersey.

Sprains often resolve with diligent care and rehabilitation exercises. Pain medications help ease discomfort. Some sprains are severe enough to require immobilization in a cast.

Here’s what defines an ankle sprain and your treatment.

What happens when I sprain my ankle?

A sprain occurs when the ligaments that hold the three bones in the ankle joint together stretch beyond their normal range of motion.

Mild sprains involve microscopic tears in the ligament tissue, while more serious sprains result in a complete tear or rupture of the soft tissue.

What symptoms suggest I have a sprain?

Sprain symptoms vary depending on the degree of your injury. You may have:

  • Swelling and bruising
  • Pain when trying to bear weight and when at rest
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Feeling that your ankle is giving out

If you have throbbing pain or if your ankle looks deformed, you have a severe sprain or possibly a break. Get care right away.

How is an ankle sprain diagnosed?

Our podiatrists examine your injury, order imaging tests, and do range-of-motion tests. Your ankle sprain will fall under one of three “grades” of injury:

Grade 1

This mild sprain features slight stretching and microscopic tearing of the ligaments. You might have mild tenderness and can still bear weight without pain.

Grade 2

Grade 2 sprains feature partial tearing of the ligament. You’ll have moderate pain when weightbearing and some instability. Bruising, swelling, and pain are expected.

Grade 3

This is the most severe sprain and refers to a complete tear of the ligament. You’ll have significant tenderness around the site of the injury and severe pain when walking or standing.

Your doctor will notice substantial instability in the joint.

Will I need a cast?

Our podiatrists may recommend a walking boot or aircast brace to provide support while you heal. These cases are removable, but should be worn as directed to be effective in your healing.

If you have a grade 3 sprain, we may recommend a short leg cast or cast-brace for up to two weeks.

Your podiatrist determines when you’re ready to move on to the next phase of healing that involves simple range-of-motion exercises and balance retraining.

The final phase of your rehabilitation introduces weightbearing activity and more complex ankle movements. It’s important that you follow the recovery protocol to prevent long-term ankle instability and reinjury.

If you think you’ve sprained your ankle, make an appointment at Go Feet today.

Call one of the convenient locations of Go Feet in the Mays Landing, and Linwood, New Jersey areas, or use the online tool to schedule an appointment. We’re available to help you with all stages of ankle healing.

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