TREATMENTS: Ankle Sprain


Many of our patients suffer from similar foot and ankle conditions; however, we treat each case uniquely. By understanding not only your podiatric disease, deformity, or other medical condition, but also your specific lifestyle needs, we can better create a course of treatment or recommend footwear that will help relieve your issues.

The complexity of the workings of your feet and ankles makes this a part of your body that may need significant attention, so we don’t rush you through treatment. At our office, we take the time to provide you with comprehensive foot care education and give you the treatment that you need and deserve.


What is an Ankle Sprain?

You may have stepped off a curb or into a hole or perhaps were playing a sport and have experienced an ankle sprain. Some people have gotten out of bed, or walked down stairs and sprained their ankle. Someone has either stepped on uneven ground or on an object that has caused their ankle to roll. No matter how if happened or your age, it is a common occurrence and not a pleasant feeling.

It can also be called rolled ankle, twisted or floppy ankle and it has to do with ligament damage.

In short, the ligament(s) of the ankle have been stretched and subsequent tearing has occurred. This often happens in the outer part of the foot. (Or considered the lateral ligaments of the ankle)

*A ligament is a strong band of connective tissue which attaches bone to bone.

Anatomy of an Ankle Sprain

There are three lateral ligaments that attach the lower leg to the foot, the Anterior Talofibular ligament (ATF), Calcaneofibular ligament (CF), and Posterior talofibular ligament (PTF). These three ligaments are often injured or torn in a lateral ankle sprain.

Often people hear a snap, tearing or click sound when the injury occurs. This can be a scary incident but it does not always mean it’s a severe injury. This foot injury will be followed by pain and possible swelling, usually on the outside of the ankle. The ankle can also become stiff.

Stepping after a severe ankle sprain can be quite painful and therefore a limp often occurs. The swelling may eventually be accompanied by discoloration of the skin on or below the area of trauma.

Ankle Sprain Grades

Grade 1 – Mild Sprain: Ligament has been stretched or has a slight tear. The patient can usually walk with mild tenderness, swelling and stiffness present.

Grade 2 – Moderate Sprain: A larger but incomplete tear of the ligament. Affected areas are normally painful to touch with moderate overall pain, swelling and bruising.

Grade 3 – Severe Sprain: The ligament has been completely torn. Walking is not usually possible as the ankle is unstable and you may feel “wobbly.” The pain can be quite severe at first but can reduce rather quickly.

Treating an Ankle Spain

A common approach is to use the R.I.C.E. treatment.

This term stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Rest: Walking may cause further problems and injury. Rest, stay off the injured foot.

Ice: You can ice on and off for 1 to 2 days after the injury. Some sort of insulation should be used for the ice/icepack. (you can even use a bag of frozen vegetables) 15- 20 minutes on 15-20 minutes off as long as you’d like.

Compression: This can be done with athletic or trainer’s tape, elastic bandage or even by tying a piece of clothing around the area. Compression can limit swelling and cab provide additional support to the injured area. The compression wrap should be with slight pressure as not to cut off the blood supply.

Elevation: Elevate the injured area above the level of your heart for as long as possible to minimize bleeding and swelling.

Doctor Examination

The patient should make an appointment with the best podiatrist available and if you’re in the Southwest Florida area, come to our Fort Myers Foot Specialists.

The doctor will carefully examine your foot and ankle but there may be some discomfort and pain for you.

Generally speaking, the doctor has a variety of steps he will take or can take to access the severity of the ankle sprain. Press on various parts of your ankle to determine which ligaments are injured, test the range of motion by moving your ankle in different directions, do image testing/x-rays, stress x-rays or order an MRI if he suspects a severe damage to a ligament, bone chip, cartilage damage or another problem. Ultrasound is another possible way observe and access the ligament.

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