Dr. T. Jay Kleeman with CU Medicine Orthopedics specializes in foot and ankle problems and says the most common injury he sees are ankle sprains. “These occur when somebody lands on the outer side of their ankle, the foot turns under, and all of the structures on the outer or lateral side are under strain. Then we can get soft tissue injuries, which are typically sprains, and bony injuries which are fractures,” said Kleeman.
Like any injury, ankle sprains can be mild, moderate, or severe. “They will cause different amounts of swelling, different amounts of bruising, and may have different treatments based on how severe they are,” added Kleeman.
Treatment for Ankle Sprains
Again, not all ankle sprains area alike and if you are experiencing significant swelling and bruising, paired with an inability to bear weight, you should call your doctor.
Your doctor may refer you to an orthopedic specialist like Dr. Kleeman if further evaluation is needed. “There are some bad sprains that can occur in the foot and ankle that require surgical treatment right off the bat, but the vast majority of typical inversion ankle sprains, even the high grade ones that may include a complete rupture of one or more ligaments, most of those can be treated non operatively,” Kleeman explained.
The standard of treatment at home is RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. After a couple of weeks, you should regain range of motion and improve in balance and strength. If you’re still having trouble with normal activities, see your doctor.
Preventing Ankle Sprains
The best way to prevent an injury is to be careful and watch where you step. That’s easier said than done; no one means to sprain their ankle.
To reduce your risk of an ankle sprain, do exercises and warm up before sports or activities. “Remember our muscles and tendons that move our joints are also stabilizers. They are important to keep us from inverting our ankles,” said Kleeman.
Focus on exercises which improve your balance and improve flexibility. Choose supportive footwear, especially when you play sports. Kleeman suggests if you have an unstable ankle to wear a brace as well, “especially on uneven surfaces.”
Pay attention to any symptoms that pop up, and if you think you have sprained your ankle, don’t hesitate to find a provider to have it evaluated.
You will find Dr. T. Jay Kleeman at CU Medicine Orthopedics in both Broomfield and Longmont.