Each year in the United States, about two million people sprain an ankle, and how they do it varies greatly. Whether the sprained ankle stems from landing badly after a jump shot or stumbling down the front step, this is one condition that deserves some attention if you want to avoid ongoing ankle problems.
As an orthopedic specialist, Dr. Rajiv Sood is well-versed in the many ways you can incur a musculoskeletal injury. We’ve seen our fair share of sprained ankles here at Spine & Orthopedic Center.
Unfortunately, we’ve also seen our fair share of patients who come in complaining of chronic ankle pain, and, more often than not, the problem can be traced back to an old ankle sprain that didn’t heal properly.
When you twist or rotate your ankle and develop pain and maybe some swelling, your first steps are important and should include the RICE method, which stands for:
Get off your foot as soon as possible and immediately get some ice on the area while you elevate your ankle (ice for about 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times during the first 24 hours). These prompt steps can go a long way toward managing the swelling.
If you apply the RICE method for 24 hours and you still have pain and swelling or, worse, you can’t really bear weight on your ankle; it’s imperative that you come to see us.
If your ankle feels OK after 24 hours, you don’t need to see us, but we recommend that you continue to take it easy for at least a week to allow time for the ligaments to fully heal.
It’s helpful to review the three potential grades to give you an idea about what we’re up against with a sprained ankle, which include:
If you’re experiencing pain and swelling after 24 hours, and it’s either painful or impossible to bear weight on the ankle, the odds are good that you fall into grades 2 or 3.
Outside of getting relief for your pain, a good reason to see us for expert diagnosis and treatment of your sprained ankle is that up to 40% of ankle sprains become chronic issues that last a year or more. This means ongoing pain and swelling, as well as instability.
Going a step further, about 20% of people who sustain an acute ankle sprain develop chronic ankle instability, a condition in which the ligaments are too loose. With chronic ankle instability, you’re far more prone to reinjuring your ankle time and again.
Our goal is to help you avoid these outcomes by getting you the treatment you need the first time around, which might include one or more of the following:
We monitor your progress throughout the treatment to ensure your ligaments heal well and strongly.
The bottom line is that an ankle is an awfully important joint to risk chronic problems. If you’ve sprained an ankle, we invite you to contact our Jonesboro, Georgia, office for expert treatment.