It’s a classic problem that we see fairly often at Paul Klein, DPM, FACFAS: a patient sprains an ankle, goes to the foot doctor for treatment, which he or she continues until the ankle stops hurting. At that time, the patient discontinues treatment and resumes normal activities. A short while later they sprain their ankle again.
Sprained ankles are not healed when they stop hurting. What many patients don’t realize is that it takes time to restore the elasticity of the ligaments and not fully rehabilitating the ankle leaves it weak and likely to sprain again.
The Road to Full Recovery
An ankle sprain occurs when one or more ligaments in the ankle get overstretched. This causes the telltale signs of an ankle sprain:
● Pain at the site of the sprain
● Difficulty bearing weight on the ankle
As soon as you realize that your ankle is injured, you should contact our Wayne office so that our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein can examine it. Ankle sprains are classified according to the level of severity of the damage. The treatment will depend on the type and degree of sprain you have experienced. It’s important that diagnosis and treatment begin right away. Delaying treatment (i.e., waiting a few days to see if it feels better before getting your ankle checked) can greatly lengthen the healing process.
In the time between the injury and your appointment, follow the RICE regimen: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Once the foot doctor has determined the extent of your sprain, the correct treatment can be prescribed. In all cases, some amount of time off your ankle will be necessary. Physical therapy is often prescribed and this is critical because it helps to strengthen the muscles that surround the ligaments and provide necessary support to prevent the ligament from overstretching. When patients stop going to physical therapy because their ankle has stopped hurting, they risk re-injury by failing to complete the strengthening of these supporting muscles. The podiatrist may also recommend that you tape or wrap the ankle or wear a brace when participating in sports or other activities to prevent a future sprain. In cases where the ligaments are severely overstretched or even torn, surgery may be necessary.
Prevent future sprains and chronic weak ankles by following all the foot doctor’s instructions and continuing treatment until the doctor clears you to stop and return to your regular activities. If you have a current or recurring ankle issue, contact our Wayne, NJ office by calling: 973-595-1555.