A sprain is basically a tear in a ligament as a result of sudden over-stretching of the ligament. It is usually caused by an abnormal movement of the foot and ankle, such as twisting the ankle or stepping into a hole in the street. This kind of motion puts tremendous stress on the ligaments, sometimes to the tearing point.
A sprained ankle is not to be taken lightly. Some people, after the initial pain or swelling disappears, feel they can resume normal activity. However, when the ankle ligaments are over-stretched, unless they are held in a firm position, they may heal in this stretched and longer position. This causes a weaker or looser ankle joint, making it easier to twist or sprain it again. Constant spraining and tearing of these ligaments, with improper healing, will result in an unstable ankle joint.
If you’ve sprained your ankle, it may not be enough to simply wear an Ace bandage or ankle brace for a week or so. Most often more ankle care is needed. In mild cases, immediately after the sprain, apply ice and stay off of the foot. Wear a firm Ace bandage and a stable, well-made, low-heeled shoe. If there is more than slight discomfort, the sprain should be treated professionally to prevent excessive pain, swelling and instability.
Sprains and fractures initially will cause pain and swelling throughout the area of injury. Sometimes black and blue discoloration can be seen over the injured area. This is usually from the tearing or rupture of small blood vessels associated with the injury.
A popular misconception is that if a foot bone or ankle bone is broken, you cannot move that part of the foot or walk on it. This is not always true and leads many patients to delay treatment, which can result in chronic foot pain and deformity.
If you think you may have sustained a fracture, do not attempt home ankle care. It is best to seek professional help from your podiatrist. Until you can see the foot specialist, stay off your foot, keep it elevated as much as possible, and apply ice and mild compression to the injured area. X-rays will help determine the nature of the injury and necessary treatment.
Formal treatment may include rest, ice, compression, physical therapy, medication, and immobilizing bandages, casts or boots. When possible, the podiatrist will use immobilizing bandages or a boot to allow the patient to assume a relatively normal level of activity. However, with severe injuries it may be necessary to repair the damaged tissues surgically, apply a cast or keep you off the foot with crutches for a period of time to ensure proper ankle care and healing.
Keep in mind, a neglected fractured toe can lead to a life-long problem. “Just a broken toe,” if not cared for professionally, may heal crooked or create a bony spur that can cause endless misery with corns and difficulty in shoe fitting for years to come.
ASA Treatment Facilities
The physicians and staff of the A Step Ahead Foot & Ankle Centers maintain two complete podiatric clinical facilities and provide 24-hour emergency service. We participate in most health plans including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicare, and Medicaid. We complete and file all necessary insurance forms and make every effort to assure you of maximum benefits with minimum out-of-pocket expense.
Contact Us Today!
You are invited to make an appointment today to relieve your foot problems or proper ankle care by calling us at (970) 316-6324, (307) 632-1657, or (970) 667-0769.