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Comprehensive Care for Ankle Sprains and Fractures

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Podiatrist examining a patient's ankle for sprain treatment

Updated:

April 10, 2024

What Are Ankle Sprains?

ankle sprains

An ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments that hold together the bones above and below the ankle joint. The main ligaments impacted are just below the bone bumps on the inner and outer sides of the ankle.

Although the injury can occur to both the inner and outer ligaments, it is more common that the injury happens to the outer ligaments. Ankle sprains happen when the foot is rolled out of its normal position, for example during a fall or landing awkwardly after a jump.

Fractures and cartilage damage can ankle sprain occurs with these injuries, so X-rays and other imaging studies are important. Without proper immediate care, the injury will not ankle sprains heal properly risking future ankle sprains. This condition is associated with other foot/ankle conditions such as arthritis and unstable ankles.

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Identifying Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains often result from a fall, sudden twist, or a blow that forces the ankle joint out of its normal position. Common causes include sports injuries, tripping, or falling. The symptoms of an ankle sprain include pain, sometimes severe, swelling, bruising, and an inability to bear weight. In some cases, you may also experience instability in your ankle weeks to months after the injury.

How We Treat Ankle Sprains

The decision between surgical and conservative treatment is ultimately dependent on the patient. Factors to be considered include the type of injury, the severity of the injury, the lifestyle and age of the patient, and their medical history.

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Conservative Ankle Sprain Options

Medication

Oral anti-inflammatory medication can help reduce symptoms and swelling that come after the ankle sprain takes place.

Ice

Physical therapy with insulated cold packs applied on and off of the sprain site for the first 72 hours helps to reduce swelling and discomfort. Alternating the application of warmth and coolness in 15 to 20-minute intervals helps to resolve the swelling after 72 hours after the injury.

Protection

Applying a cast around the joint to maintain the proper position for 3 to 4 weeks is very important so that the ligaments do not heal in a loose position. The cast can be applied in one piece, or as a removable model with Velcro straps.

Physical Therapy

The ankle joint can become tight during the casting period. Physical therapy is an important first step once the cast comes off to regain proper motion in the joint. A lace-up leather ankle brace is recommended during this transition period for the next 2 to 4 weeks. Strengthening the muscle tendons around the inner and outer ankle helps to secure the joint in place. Most importantly, exercises that restore balance are the best way to prevent future sprains once the injured ligaments are in the last stages of proper healing.

Injections

Pain in the ankle joint is most effectively resolved by medicinal injections that stop the pain and inflammation of the irritated or damaged cushion lining inside the joint.

Surgical Treatment for Ankle and Foot Sprains

Ankle Arthroscopy

This procedure is the gold standard for diagnose ankle sprains problems within the ankle joint.

Ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows a small camera to go into the ankle through two small 1 cm incisions to the front of the ankle.

Any damage to the ankle joint cartilage and inner joint wall lining is cleaned up and removed. Partial weight-bearing in a removable cast is allowed after suture removal at 14 days, and full weight-bearing at 3-4 weeks.

Ankle Stabilization

Ankle Stabilization is used to fix the weak or loose ankle ligaments impacted by the ankle sprain.

The incision is 2 to 3 cm in length on the outer part of the foot near the ankle. The ligaments are repaired (sometimes by adding a ligament graft) with strong sutures.

Non-weight bearing in a cast or cast boot for 3 to 4 weeks after the surgery. Full weight bearing in a cast boot 4-6 weeks with physical therapy and light exercise at 6 to 8 weeks.

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Insurance Coverage for Ankle Sprains

Navigating insurance coverage for medical treatments can often feel complex. When it comes to ankle sprains, it's essential to understand your insurance coverage to receive the necessary care without unexpected financial burdens.

We will work with your insurance provider to ensure you receive the maximum benefits available under your plan. We accept most insurance plans and are in-network with a wide range of providers.

Coverage for treatments of ankle sprains, including physical therapy, medication, and procedures like lateral ankle ligament reconstruction for severe cases, is typically available. Contacting your insurance provider can help you understand if you have coverage for the treatments you need.

Why Choose Us

Choosing the right care for your sprained ankle can make all the difference in your recovery and long-term health of your ankle joint. At Modern Foot & Ankle, we understand the importance of providing exceptional, professional, and engaging care for our patients. Here's why you should consider us for your ankle injury treatment:

Comprehensive Care for Ankle Injuries

At Modern Foot & Ankle, the health and recovery of your ankle are paramount. We understand the critical role that expert, personalized care plays not only in your immediate recovery from an ankle sprain but also in ensuring the long-term well-being of your ankle joint. Our approach is centered on delivering care that is both exceptional and engaging, making us the preferred choice for treating your ankle injury.

Expert Team and Advanced Techniques

Our team consists of leading specialists in the field of podiatry, with extensive experience in diagnosing and treating all levels of ankle sprains, from the mild to the more severe. We are committed to utilizing the latest advancements in medical treatments, including lateral ankle ligament reconstruction and other innovative procedures, to provide you with the best possible outcomes.

Unwavering Support and Guidance

From the outset of your treatment through to your recovery, our team offers comprehensive support. We are with you every step of the way, providing physical therapy, post-recovery advice, and everything in between to support your journey back to full health.

Navigating Insurance Coverage

We understand that dealing with insurance can be a complex and often stressful process. Our team is here to assist in navigating your insurance coverage, ensuring that you receive the necessary care without the added worry of financial strain.

Proven Results

Our commitment to excellence in podiatric care is reflected in the success stories and positive outcomes of our patients. These testimonials stand as a testament to our dedication to not only addressing the immediate injury but also preventing future ankle sprains through comprehensive treatment and education.

For more detailed information on our services and how we can assist you in recovering from an ankle sprain, we invite you to visit our website at Modern Foot & Ankle. Choose us for a partnership that prioritizes your health, offers innovative solutions, and provides a supportive path to recovery.

In Summary

  1. An ankle sprain is a common yet potentially serious injury affecting the ankle ligaments and can lead to varying degrees of pain, swelling, and limitation in range of motion.
  2. Whether the sprain is a mild twist or a severe sprain, immediate and appropriate treatment is crucial.
  3. Ankle sprains can impact anyone, from those experiencing a simple foot roll to athletes suffering from an inversion injury.
  4. Recognizing when you've sprained your ankle and seeking prompt care can help prevent chronic ankle instability and future ankle sprains.

The information on our website is intended for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. For any health-related concerns, we strongly recommend consulting with a healthcare professional. Please note that any reliance on the information found on our site is solely at your own risk. For more details, please see our Medical Disclaimer.

FAQs

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How long should it take for a sprained ankle to heal?

A lower-grade ankle sprain can heal in 3 weeks with or without an ankle brace. A higher-grade sprain with ligament or joint damage can take 4 to 6 weeks to heal using a walking cast or CAM walker cast boot.

How do I know if I sprained my ankle?

The way in which you may injured ankle or fall to create an ankle sprain is part of the diagnosis. Signs and symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, and inability to bear weight. An examination by a physician would include an x-ray to rule out other injuries as well as techniques like the “anterior drawer sign” that indicates one or two possible ligaments were torn.

What happens if you leave a sprained ankle untreated?

Certain ankle sprains can heal on their own, but some untreated severe ankle sprains can cause future joint damage, arthritis, or additional ankle sprains from the instability.

What helps a sprain heal faster?

The fastest way to heal an ankle sprain is to avoid bearing weight for 1 to 3 weeks and immobilize the ankle in a CAM walker or walking cast.

How do doctors check for a sprained ankle?

A typical examination for an ankle sprain includes the palpation of structures like ligaments, tendons, and joints that are commonly injured during this injury. X-rays are common as well as more advanced testing like an MRI.

Do you need a boot for a sprained ankle?

Most ankle sprains do require a walking boot to keep them in the correct position during the healing process and to prevent reinjury.

How long does a sprained ankle stay swollen?

Normal swelling can subside in 72 hours, but a sprained ankle can remain swollen for up to 6 to 8 weeks. Elevation, ice, and support stockings will help with swelling during the healing process.

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