Unless you have spent your entire life on the couch, you have probably sprained an ankle once or twice! It is very easy to do. One moment of relaxing your concentration could mean you step off a curb at a funny angle or miss that bottom stair by accident. The result is a sprained ankle! They are painful and annoying at a minimum. But when does a simple sprain turn into something that needs professional medical intervention?
What is a Sprain?
A sprain involves movement of the joint beyond its normal range of motion. This temporary condition results in damaged ligaments, the tissues that connect bones or joints. It is easy to see that sprains can be minor or severe in nature depending on the amount of abnormal movement.
Symptoms of an Ankle Sprain
There are several symptoms that may present after an ankle sprain. These include:
- A popping feeling at the moment of injury
- Inability to turn your foot within its normal range of motion
- Tenderness to the touch
- Pain and/or instability when walking
- Swelling and/or bruising around the injury
When to Seek Professional Help
If the standard treatment for minor sprains does not appear to help (R.I.C.E. or Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) it is time to consult a local doctor that specializes in foot and ankle injuries.
The doctor will evaluate your ankle to ensure it is just a sprain and not something more serious like a fracture. A broken bone will typically be far more painful than a sprain. In some cases, a deformity will be present in the ankle as well.
Bottom line, if the R.I.C.E. method is not working or if your progress stops, there may be more going on. If the pain, bruising or swelling does not improve after a few days, there may be a more significant issue.
Make an appointment with a Boise foot and ankle specialist that is trained to identify and treat traumatic injuries. This will give you the best chance of getting back to normal as quickly as possible.