By Dr Alexandra Buk
Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy yourself. However, increased activity can often lead to problems with our feet and ankles, particularly ankle sprains. Many emergency rooms across the country see increases in sprained ankles during the summer months. Most of us have twisted and ankle at some point, either while doing something as simple as stepping off a curb, or while starting a heart-healthy activity such as walking outdoors. Sometimes, these “twists” can be more serious and need to be treated as quickly as possible.
If your ankle becomes swollen, painful or bruised after you injure it, you have most likely sprained your ankle. This means you have probably stretched and possibly torn the ligaments in your ankle. The first steps to take are easy to remember if you can recall the word “RICE.”
- R = Rest. Restrict your activity, and get off your foot/ankle.
- I = Ice. Gently place a plastic bag of ice wrapped in a towel on the injured area in a 20- minute-on, 40-minute-off cycle.
- C = Compression. Lightly wrap an elastic bandage around the area, taking care not to pull it too tight.
- E = Elevation. To reduce swelling and pain, sit in a position that allows you to elevate the foot/ankle higher than your heart.
If the sprain is mild, the podiatrist may not take x-rays. But with more severe sprains, you may need X-rays or advanced imaging studies to rule out broken bones, ligament or tissue damage, and cartilage damage in the foot and ankle. In addition, these studies can determine if there are growth plate injuries in children. To help your ankle heal, your podiatrist may prescribe a protective brace or some form of ankle support. At times, it may be necessary to immobilize the ankle in a soft or hard cast so that healing can occur more rapidly. Rest is particularly important, so in order to keep weight off your ankle, you may also be advised to use crutches for a defined period during healing. In addition, anti-inflammatory medications will probably be suggested to reduce pain and swelling.
After a specific period of time, you may be required to do some physical therapy, either at home or with a certified therapist. Since it is important to make sure the ankle is fully healed before returning to activities, the doctor may also recommend taping your ankle or wearing a supportive brace.
Send your summer foot care questions to Dr Buk at The Arkansas Foot and Ankle Clinic
Link back to the Doctor’s article regarding sandals, flip-flops, and summer shoes from last month.
ARTICLE LINK: http://arkfac.com/articles/308/sprained-ankle-sprains-article-foot-doctor
RELATED TOPICS: ankle • doctor • sprained • sprains • twisted