Why You Should Not Ignore An Ankle Sprain

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Ankle sprains can occur to anyone in almost any sport or activity, but the majority of ankle sprains occur during contact sports with the top four in basketball, football, soccer and running. Ankle sprains can also occur in other activities, such as in dance, and even just walking outside on uneven sidewalks. Most of us ignore the sprain and just take it easy for the next couple of days. But this type of “treatment” doesn’t treat the inflammatory process behind the sprain.

Inadequate treatment of an ankle sprain can cause the ankle to become more prone to sprains and later can develop into lateral ankle instability due to the loosening of the ligaments around the ankle. The anterior talo-fibular ligament is the most sprained ankle ligament contributing to the instability. Taking care of an ankle sprain correctly and with proper treatment will help reduce the risk of lateral ankle instability.

The most common method for initially treating a sprained ankle is using the simple acronym RICE that stands for:

Rest the injured ankle from any type of weight bearing activity. This is best accomplished by using crutches or even various casting options.

Ice the injured location for about 20 minutes at a time to help reduce swelling and to prevent further injury.

Compression by using a gel wrap or elastic bandage will help support the ankle.

Elevate the injured side by keeping it above the heart level, which helps to reduce both swelling and bruising.

By following the RICE treatment and by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naprosyn, to help with pain management and reduce swelling and inflammation, the injured ankle will have a better chance of recovery and will prevent the risk of developing ankle instability.

A visit to our Houston, TX office after an ankle sprain is important to ensure that there is no injury to the bones of the ankle or foot. We also want to ensure that you do the proper exercise and therapy to strengthen the soft tissue structures and prevent future injuries.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.