People born with weak ankles are often prone to ankle sprains. Previous injuries of the foot and ankle may also weaken the joint and result in sprains.
Symptoms of ankle sprains may include sprain, swelling, bruising, difficulty walking, joint stiffness and pain or soreness. These symptoms can be more or less intense depeding on the extent of injury. Patients with previous ankle sprains may not have pain and swelling. Instead, they might only complain of the ankle feeling floppy and unstable when walking. Treatment is important in the presence or absence of pain and swelling. Every ankle sprain should be immediately evaluated, no matter how many times it has re-occured.
An ankle sprain should be immediately evaluated and treated by Dr. Radovic for these important reasons:
If left untreated, an ankle sprain can lead to leg weakness; or chronic ankle instability, a condition involving persistent pain and an outward turning of the ankle.
A serious bone fracture, or other severe ankle injury may have occurred in addition to the sprain. If left untreated, such conditions may lead to serious complications.
An ankle sprain might present with an uncomfortable foot injury that was left unnoticed so far.
A sprained ankle needs to be rehabilitated immediately. Failure to begin rehabilitation right away can lead to incomplete healing.
In diagnosing an ankle sprain, Dr. Radovic will ask questions regarding your symptoms, and examine your foot. Dr. Radovic might order x-rays or other advanced imaging studies to determine the extent of injury.
Rehabilitation is extremely important in treating ankle sprains. Dr. Radovic may recommend one or more of these non-surgical treatments:
Rest. Do not walk on the injured ankle to prevent further injury.
Ice. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel to the injured ankle. Ice the injury for 20 minutes, then allow the area to warm for at least 40 minutes before beginning the icing routine again.
Compression. Wrap the ankle with an elastic bandage to prevent swelling.
Elevation. Reduce swelling by elevating the ankle at or slightly above heart level.
Early physical therapy. Dr. Radovic will prescribe a physical therapy program immediately after injury to retrain the ligaments and increase range of motion. Therapy includes completing prescribed exercises.
Medications. Ibuprofen or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be prescibed to decrease pain and inflammation. Some patients may be prescribed pain medication for adequate relief.
Surgery might be necessary to adequately treat more severe cases of an ankle sprain. Dr. Radovic will repair the damaged ligament or ligaments with a procedure he selects based on individual activity level, type of injury and severity of injury.
Rehabilitation is a crucial component of a successful recovery after surgery. Dr. Radovic should be seen regularly during the recovery period to ensure that the ankle heals and functions properly.