San Francisco Podiatrist - Ankle Sprain
A sprain involves damage to the ankle’s ligaments, the springy tissues that stabilize the joints and connect bones to one another. Ligament injuries occur when these bands are stretched or torn due to a sudden impact or twist. Sports, improper footwear, weak ankles and walking/running on uneven surfaces are the usual culprits in these situations. Sprains are accompanied by pain, swelling, bruising, stiffness and difficulty walking. A wobbling, unstable feeling when walking can indicate stretched, loosened ligaments. These symptoms can vary in degree of severity, and even minor discomfort should not be ignored.
Until the ankle can be examined by a specialist or by Emergency Room personnel, use the R.I.C.E. method for immediate care. Rest, ice – not resting directly on the skin, compression with an elastic bandage and elevation at or above hip level. Treatments vary widely depending on the severity of injury and may include immobilization, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, continued ice and compression and perhaps surgery to repair the damaged ligament(s). Untreated ankle sprains can lead to a host of other issues. Chronic instability is uncomfortable and can cause the leg to weaken. A sprain may be accompanied by a fracture or other foot injury, both of which require medical attention. If the ankle heals improperly, lifelong discomfort and weakness may develop.