Ankle sprains are a common injury that occurs when the ankle rolls, twists, or turns in an awkward way. When the ankle twists, it can strain, stretch or tear the ligaments that help stabilize the joint. Two of the most common types of sprains are lateral, spraining the outside of the foot, or high ankle sprains. High ankle sprains are more common in athletes, and occur when there is tearing of the ligaments that connect the tibia to the fibula.
If you’ve sprained your ankle, it’s important to make an appointment with your primary care physician to x-ray the ankle and make sure it is only a sprain and that nothing is broken. The first step in treating a sprained ankle is to reduce inflammation and swelling through rest, applying ice, wrapping the injury in an ace bandage and elevating the ankle. Further treatment depends on the severity of the injury and if the individual is able to bear weight on it. Mild sprains may only take a few days of rest and ice to heal, while others may require immobilization of the ankle through a walking boot or something similar. Ankle sprains very rarely require surgery.
Recovery depends on the severity of the injury. For minor injuries, people can return to their activities in sports within several days, but very severe sprains may take up to several weeks. Frequent ankle sprains or injuries can lead to instability and damage to the ankle. Physical therapy after an injury can help strengthen the joint and avoid future injuries or stability problems.
Fortunately, Cone Health has an exceptional network of podiatry and primary care services dedicated to educating patients on how to properly care for their joints.
Dr. Matthew Wagoner is a podiatrist at Triad Foot Center and a member of the Cone Health Medical Group. Dr. Wagoner received a Bachelor of Science in biology in 2007 and his Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine in 2011. His residency training was completed at Temple University Health System in 2015.