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Treatment and Relief for Ankle Sprains

Looking for relief from an ankle sprain in San Antonio, TX? Ankle sprains are caused by an unnatural twisting or force on the ankle bones of the foot, which may result in excessive stretching or tearing of one or more ligaments on the outside of the ankle. The severity of the sprain can impact the degree of damage as well as the type and duration of treatment. If not properly treated, ankle sprains may develop into long-term problems.

Dr. Kathren D. McCarty, former chief resident of the Orthopedics Dept./Podiatry division at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio is an expert at assisting patents with an ankle sprain in San Antonio, TX. Prior to joining Sports Occupational & Knee Surgery in 2008, she performed over 2000 podiatry procedures. As a respected and experienced podiatrist that can effectively diagnose and treat your needs whether it is ankle and joint pain, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, toenail fungus or other foot and ankle ailments; Dr McCarty strives to deliver quality podiatry care to informed patients in our comfortable and convenient offices.

What Are The Symptoms of a Sprained Ankle?

Primary symptoms of ankle sprains are pain following a twist or injury, swelling, and bruising.

What Causes Ankle Sprains?

The bones of the ankle (tibia, fibula and talus) are held in correct alignment by strong bands of collagen tissue (ligaments) and muscles attach to the bones of the foot moving the ankle and adding stability to the joint. A sudden twisting injury to the foot (usually with the sole pointing inwards – inversion injury) may stretch the ligament fibers. This may cause pain, swelling and bruising. Most people are able to walk even with a limp.

Further force may cause the ligament to rupture or for a flake of bone to be pulled from where the ligament attaches It is not usually possible to put any weight on the ankle following such injuries. Further force may cause fracture of the bones surrounding the ankle and dislocation of the joint.

Ankle Sprain Treatment with Dr. McCarty

Treatment includes resting and elevating the ankle and applying ice to reduce swelling. Compressive bandages also may be used to immobilize and support the injury during healing. Serious ankle sprains, particularly among competitive athletes, may require surgery to repair and tighten the damaged ligaments.

Dr. Kathren McCarty combines knowledgeable and honest care with the most advanced technology in the Greater San Antonio region to treat patients with an ankle sprain in San Antonio, TX.

Healthy, happy feet are only a click or call away. Call Dr. Kathren McCarty at Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery today for a consultation appointment; 210-696-9000

Treatment Options for Ankle Sprains

P.R.I.C.E.

The majority of simple sprains recover fully within a few days with “PRICE” – Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. If you are unable to put weight through the ankle/foot, you should be evaluated by a foot & ankle specialist. I have had so many patients come into the office surprised by the severity of the ligament damage or even fracture.

Ankle Arthroscopy & Physical Therapy

Sprains that show no signs of improvement of pain by 3 months or are painful 6 months after injury may require further investigation, physical therapy and possibly an arthroscopy.

Sometimes the ankle does not stabilize even after intensive physical therapy. If the ankle continues to feel unstable with repeated sprains then it may be necessary to perform surgery to reconstruct the lateral ligaments.

Lateral Ankle Stabilizing Surgery

Recovery from lateral ankle stabilizing surgery usually requires 6 -12 weeks depending on the individual.

The professional staff at Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery in San Antonio, Texas along with Dr. McCarty, will evaluate your personal injury and will follow you through to your full recovery, ensuring your health and prevention of future injury.

Back to more Podiatry Services in San Antonio, TX.

At-home Treatment Options for a Sprained Ankle

The home remedies for a sprained ankle are similar to many other minor injuries. The acronym used to describe the combination of remedies is RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

  • Resting the injured ankle will directly contribute to the length of time it takes to get back to normal activities. In this context, rest means avoiding too much activity that places weight-bearing stress on the ankle and foot.
  • Ice is a home remedy used for many injuries that involve swelling. Ice packs can be applied to the sprained ankle for 10 to 20 minutes, a few times a day. It is necessary to avoid placing ice or an ice pack directly on the skin. Instead, place a thin sheet of fabric in between the two.
  • Compression of the sprained ankle can help reduce swelling while, at the same time, providing necessary stability for walking short distances.
  • Elevation is helpful for sprained ankles because, when the foot is positioned higher than the heart, fluid and blood drain back toward the heart more efficiently. Because the ankle will swell and bruise as a result of the sprain, elevation can help promote more rapid healing. It is easiest to elevate the sprained ankle by lying back in a recliner or on several pillows with the leg also situated on one or two thick pillows.

How Soon Should You Visit a Doctor for Your Sprained Ankle?

There is no value in waiting to see a doctor for a sprained ankle. If you or someone you love is exhibiting signs of a sprained ankle, you can schedule a visit with your primary care physician or with a specialist. That said, many people do try to first treat a sprained ankle at home. If, after incorporating RICE or other remedies into daily life, bruising, swelling, and pain do not improve, it is necessary to seek proper medical attention. When you see a doctor for the symptoms of a sprained ankle, you can discover just what is causing pain and other discomfort and what you can do to facilitate the fastest healing.

How Can I Make My Sprained Ankle Heal Faster?

In addition to following the RICE protocol of rest, ice, compression, and elevation, you might help your sprained ankle heal more efficiently with a few more strategies.

  • Heat may be applied to the area to increase blood flow through the injured tissues. Your doctor may recommend alternating between using ice and heat, provided that the ankle is not in a state of active swelling. Heat can cause swelling to worsen and, if it does, prolong the healing process.
  • Stretching, when done very gently and carefully, can keep the muscles around the sprained ankle stronger and more limber. Stretching also increases blood circulation through the area. When stretching a sprained ankle, it is very important to move slowly and avoid overextending the joint.
  • If you see a doctor for your sprained ankle, they may recommend a few visits with a physical therapist. Through a program tailored to your injury, the physical therapist can improve strength, flexibility, and load-bearing capacity.

Can I Walk on My Sprained Ankle?

It can be safe to walk on a sprained ankle provided that the sprain is not severe. Severe ankle sprains prevent the person from putting any weight on the joint. Swelling may also prevent walking on the recent injury. This is where RICE can help. Once the ankle is able to support some weight, you may start walking very short distances. It is important not to put too much weight or stress on the joint. You cannot “walk off” a sprained ankle. Trying to do so can exacerbate the injury and prolong your recovery. When you begin walking on your recovering ankle, wear support in the form of an ankle brace or kinesiology tape (applied appropriately).

How Long Will It Take for My Sprained Ankle to Heal?

The time it takes for you to recover from a sprained ankle can vary depending on a few factors. One might think that the primary factor is the severity of the injury. While this is relevant, we have seen people with relatively mild ankle sprains take several weeks to recover because they did not allow sufficient time for rest and gradual rehabilitation. Depending on factors like these, it can take from two weeks to 12 weeks for a sprained ankle to fully heal.

Schedule a Consultation

Dr. Peter Holmes and his professional staff at Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery in San Antonio, TX will help guide you towards the best treatment for you and will follow you through to full recovery. Call (210) 696-9000 today for an appointment to treat your ankle sprain at either our San Antonio or Schertz location.