Your ankles are one of the many joints that keep your body mobile. Ankles, however, can be prone to injury, with physicians seeing around 2 million ankle sprains each year. Ankle sprains and strains usually aren’t serious, but treating them immediately, regardless of severity, can save you much grief later.
Joseph L. Humpherys, DO, of Rapid City Orthopedics in Rapid City, South Dakota, specializes in the treatment of a variety of joint and soft tissue injuries, including the ubiquitous ankle sprain. If you’ve injured your ankle, no matter the cause, Dr. Humpherys can provide a proper diagnosis and the necessary guidance to protect your ankle and your overall health.
All about ankles
Your ankles are at the meeting of several bones, all held together by a series of fibrous tissue structures called ligaments. Ligaments keep the bones in place and everything stable.
Circumstances can cause someone to twist their foot, including an awkward landing. That can cause the stabilizing ligaments to stretch past their limits or tear. People most at risk of spraining their ankles are physically active or playing sports for fun or professionally.
Though athletes and other highly active people are at the greatest risk of spraining their ankles, they’re far from the only people affected. High heel aficionados, people who walk or trip on uneven surfaces, or even a person stepping on your foot could overextend or damage your fibrous ligaments.
If you’ve sprained your ankle, you’ll know immediately. You may feel a popping sensation, hear a popping noise, and feel immediate pain with tenderness, stiffness, and bruising.
If you experience any of these symptoms, instead of ignoring them, you should contact Dr. Humpherys as soon as possible. Even if you’re sure that you’ve only sprained your ankle, the symptoms of a sprain mimic the symptoms of a broken ankle. If your ankle is broken, putting off treatment can easily compromise your ability to walk.
What to do if you sprained your ankle
If you’re experiencing symptoms of a sprained ankle, the first thing to do is get off of the affected foot. Sit down, but if you’re able, lay down and elevate your ankle above your head. Wrap your ankle snugly, icing it for 15 minutes at a time to calm the inflammation. Longer than 15 minutes may give you an ice burn.
Keep your foot elevated until the swelling goes down. Your ankle may not look or feel normal, and it may be helpful to take an over-the-counter pain reliever, though you should consult with our team for the best medication.
Reasons you shouldn’t play through a sprained ankle
If the pain isn’t enough to deter you, there are several reasons to stay off of or minimize the use of a sprained ankle:
- One sprain increases the risk of another
- Improper healing raises your risk of complications, including an increased risk of arthritis
- Other complications include an impaired ability to walk and chronic ankle pain
Even if your sprain isn’t severe, putting off treatment or maintaining your current level of physical activity can compromise your long-term ability to stay in the game. Once your ankle has been successfully treated, Dr. Humpherys will show you how to rehabilitate your ankle with gentle exercises and careful monitoring.
How we can help
Once Dr. Humpherys meets with you, he’ll examine your foot and may take X-rays to confirm that it’s just a sprain that is affecting you. While most ankle issues don’t require invasive procedures, Dr. Humpherys will keep you abreast of any necessary treatments to save the strength and flexibility of your ankle.
Ankle sprains are common, but they can become more serious if left untreated. If you’ve hurt your ankle, don’t try to play through it. Call us at 605-755-6730, or book an appointment online today.