Foot and Ankle Sprain Specialist Q&A
Foot and ankle sprains occur when ligaments are torn, strained, and twisted. Severe sprains cause bruising, swelling, and discomfort. Foot and ankle sprains are common injuries but if they are not treated appropriately, they can be extremely painful. our board-certified podiatrist Dr. John W. Scivally, DPM can diagnose a sprained ankle, determine your ankle’s range of motion by performing a physical examination, and recommend appropriate treatment for your sprain. Foot and ankle sprains can occur to varying levels of severity. However, treatment can help minimize symptoms and ensure proper healing. Certain factors that lead to an ankle sprain include falling on an uneven surface, landing wrongly after jumping, and losing equilibrium. To strengthen the injured muscles and prevent future sprain, contact us or schedule an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you.
Table of Contents:
How do I know if I sprained my ankle and foot?
What causes a sprained ankle?
What is the difference between a sprained ankle and a broken ankle (ankle fracture)?
How long does a sprained foot and ankle take to heal?
Recognizing if you have sprained your ankle and foot involves paying attention to specific signs and symptoms. The most common indicators of an ankle sprain include pain, swelling, and bruising around the ankle joint and foot. You may experience varying levels of pain, ranging from mild to severe, depending on the severity of the sprain.
Swelling is another key symptom, with the injured area appearing larger and feeling tender to the touch. Additionally, bruising or discoloration around the ankle and foot is common due to blood vessel damage during the injury. A sprained ankle may also result in limited range of motion, instability or a sense of weakness in the affected foot, and stiffness that hinders normal movement. If you observe these symptoms after an ankle or foot injury, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and diagnosis.
A sprained ankle occurs when the ligaments, which are tough bands of tissue that hold the ankle bones together, are stretched or torn due to an awkward movement such as rolling, twisting, or turning the ankle. Ligaments play a crucial role in stabilizing joints and preventing excessive movement. Most commonly, sprained ankles involve injuries to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle.
Several factors can increase the risk of experiencing a sprained ankle. Sports participation, especially in activities that involve jumping, cutting actions, or foot movements like basketball, tennis, football, soccer, and trail running, is a common cause of ankle sprains.
Walking or running on uneven surfaces or poor field conditions can also contribute to the risk of ankle sprains. Additionally, individuals who have previously sprained their ankle or experienced other ankle injuries are more susceptible to spraining it again.
Poor physical condition, such as insufficient strength or flexibility in the ankles, can increase the likelihood of spraining an ankle while participating in sports. Wearing improper shoes that do not fit properly or are not suitable for the activity, as well as frequently wearing high-heeled shoes, can make the ankles more vulnerable to injury.
Differentiating between a sprained ankle and a broken ankle, also known as an ankle fracture, can be challenging as the symptoms can overlap. Both conditions typically present with swelling, bruising, and significant pain, and may result in difficulty bearing weight on the injured foot.
When a sprain is suspected, maintaining some ability to bear weight on the ankle is common, although it is advisable to visit our offices for an evaluation. The pain associated with a sprain is typically mild to moderate, accompanied by mild ankle instability. Swelling and bruising may gradually develop over a period of hours or days.
On the other hand, if a fracture has occurred, it becomes nearly impossible to bear weight on the affected ankle (although in some severe sprains, weight-bearing may also be challenging).
The pain experienced with a fracture is usually moderate to severe, and there may be a sensation of numbness in the foot and ankle. An ankle fracture often results in immediate swelling, bruising, and a potential deformity of the ankle’s appearance.
The length of time it takes for a sprained ankle or foot to heal can vary depending on its severity and individual factors. Mild to moderate sprains usually heal within two to four weeks. Resting the injured foot and ankle, applying ice to reduce swelling, compressing the area with a bandage, and elevating the foot are all important during this period.
It may take several weeks to several months for more severe sprains, such as Grade 2 or Grade 3 sprains, to heal fully. The recovery time for these types of sprains may be longer due to more substantial ligament damage. It may be necessary to immobilize a person with a brace, splint, or cast in some cases to ensure proper healing for these levels of sprains.
Foot and ankle sprain specialists are available at Bay Area Foot and Ankle Associates Corp. To learn more, contact us or schedule an appointment online. We have convenient locations to serve you. We serve patients from Walnut Creek CA, Brentwood CA, Antioch CA, Alamo CA, Concord CA, Pleasant Hill CA, Pittsburg CA, Danville CA, Oakley CA, and surrounding areas.
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