A sprained ankle may not seem like the worst injury, but it can affect your foot and ankle health. Even minor ankle sprains have the potential to keep you off your feet for a few days.
Early evaluation of your ankle sprain by the team at the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico in Roswell, New Mexico, is essential to prevent complications.
Our orthopedic team will evaluate your ankle sprain and offer various treatments, including surgery for ankle injuries.
Understanding an ankle sprain
Your ankle joint consists of bones, tendons, and ligaments. When you sprain your ankle, the ligaments that support your bones either stretch beyond their capacity or tear, causing various symptoms that include:
- Immediate pain
- Decreased range-of-motion
You may also have trouble putting weight on the affected foot or struggle walking after an ankle sprain.
There are three grades of ankle sprains. A grade 1 ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments only slightly stretch or mildly tear.
A grade 2 ankle sprain happens when the ligament partially tears, and you experience more swelling and discomfort than a grade 1 ankle sprain.
If you have a grade 3 ankle sprain, your ligament completely tears, resulting in immediate swelling, pain, and difficulty walking.
Ankle sprains are common sports injuries but can happen to anyone. You can suffer an ankle sprain from a fall or by rolling your ankle while walking.
Why should you be evaluated?
After an ankle injury, you should always seek expert medical care, especially if you suspect a sprain. Early treatment for ankle sprains is crucial in preventing long-term issues in your joint.
We want you to come in right away after an ankle sprain for several reasons. The first reason is chronic ankle instability — untreated ankle sprains cause problems with your ankle giving out and chronic discomfort. You may also develop permanent weakness in the ankle.
Another reason to get evaluated after an ankle sprain is the possibility of a more severe injury you can't see. The swelling and pain associated with the sprain may cover up other issues in the joint, including fractures.
Untreated fractures can lead to improper bone healing and bothersome complications that affect how you walk. Other injuries to tendons or surrounding tissues may also be present with a sprain, only visible with medical imaging such as an MRI or X-ray.
One of the most important reasons to have our team evaluate your ankle sprain is the healing process. You must begin rehabilitation as soon as possible after a sprain, and delaying treatment results in improper injury healing and repercussions in the joint.
Beginning the healing process
After we diagnose you with an ankle sprain, the recovery process begins. It's essential that you follow the aftercare instructions and participate in physical therapy to ensure your ankle heals appropriately.
The severity of your ankle sprain dictates the treatment we recommend. For mild to moderate sprains, we provide you with the following treatment plan:
- Rest to promote healing
- Ice several times a day
- A wrap or brace to help with swelling
- Elevation of the ankle while you're sitting
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Physical therapy
Physical therapy starts as soon as possible to promote mobility and range of motion. It may be difficult at first, especially right after the injury, but it's a vital part of the healing process.
We give you home exercises to promote healing in your ankle joint. You continue physical therapy for several weeks to months, depending on the severity of your sprain.
For more severe sprains, we may recommend surgical repair of the injury. Surgery involves repairing or reconstructing the ligaments damaged in the sprain. Surgery is often the last resort reserved for severe cases where your ankle is unlikely to heal with conservative measures alone.
To get immediate help for a sprained ankle, don't hesitate to call our office in Roswell at 575-623-9101 or book an appointment on our website. You can also walk into our urgent care facility for quick and efficient care.