No one likes to go to the doctor and it’s tempting when you twist your ankle to take a wait and see approach for a few days. At Gentle Professional Foot Care, however, we find that patients who are treated immediately for an ankle sprain heal faster and more completely than those who delay the start of treatment.
A sprain occurs when the ligaments in your ankle are overstretched due to a sudden twisting injury. The severity of the sprain will depend on how much the ligaments were stretched and whether they were partially or completely torn in the injury.
The typical symptoms of an ankle sprain include pain, swelling, bruising, joint stiffness and difficult bearing weight and walking on the damaged ankle. That being said, if you can walk on your injured foot it does not mean that the ankle is not sprained or otherwise injured.
Without a proper medical evaluation, there is no way for you the patient to tell how severe a sprain is. Our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, will need to examine your ankle and most likely will order x-rays or other imaging studies to determine the extent of the damage to your ankle. Without a prompt and accurate evaluation you run the risk of several unpleasant consequences:
- Your injury may be more severe than just a sprain. In many instances the outward symptoms of a bone fracture and a sprain may appear the same. Without more advanced imaging tests a fracture may go undetected and begin to heal improperly causing serious complications in the future. A fracture and a sprain require different medical treatments.
- Although the pain may decrease within a week or so and you may think the ankle is healed, without proper treatment chronic conditions such as ongoing soreness and stiffness and ankle instability may occur. If your ankle is “weak” or unstable, you are more likely to sprain it again. With each repeated sprain the ligaments get more stretched and the risk of injury increases.
- Your healing time may be much more extensive and the degree of healing less complete if you don’t start rehabilitation soon after the injury. Early physical therapy can help speed healing and strengthen surrounding muscles as well for significantly greater range of motion and an overall stronger ankle.