Every day, 25,000 people in the United States sprain their ankle. While it seems like a common injury, you should get a sprained ankle evaluated by the experts at Hosey and Murphy Foot & Ankle Centers with multiple locations in Clinton Township, Sterling Heights, and Mount Clemens, Michigan. Some ankle sprains can be serious and set you up for long-term instability. Call one of the offices or schedule an appointment online if you suspect an ankle sprain.

request an appointment

What is an ankle sprain?

If you damage one or more of the ligaments in the ankle, you have a sprain. Ligaments provide stability by limiting side-to-side movement. Sprains can occur during a fall, accident, or sports play.

Some ankle sprains are much worse than others. The severity of an ankle sprain depends on whether the ligament is stretched, partially torn, or completely torn, as well as on the number of ligaments involved.

Ankle sprains are not the same as strains; strains affect muscles rather than ligaments.

When should I suspect an ankle sprain?

Suspect a sprain if you feel:

  • Pain or soreness
  • Swelling and bruising
  • Difficulty walking and stiffness in the joint

Sometimes pain and swelling are absent in people with previous ankle sprains. Instead, you may simply feel the ankle is wobbly and unsteady when you walk. Even if there is no pain or swelling with a sprained ankle, treatment is crucial. Any ankle sprain – whether it’s your first or your fifth – requires prompt medical attention.

Why can’t I just let my sprained ankle heal on its own?

You should seek care from the foot and ankle specialists at Hosey and Murphy Foot & Ankle Centers. An untreated ankle sprain may lead to chronic ankle instability, a condition marked by persistent discomfort and a “giving way” of the ankle. Weakness in your leg may also develop.

A more severe ankle injury may have occurred along with the sprain. This might include a serious bone fracture that, if left untreated, could lead to troubling complications. An ankle sprain may be accompanied by a foot injury that causes discomfort but has gone unnoticed thus far.

Rehabilitation of a sprained ankle needs to begin right away. If rehabilitation is delayed, the injury may be less likely to heal properly

How can I rehabilitate my sprained ankle?

When you have an ankle sprain, rehabilitation is crucial — and it starts the moment your treatment begins. Staying off the injured ankle is crucial. Walking may cause further injury. Apply an ice pack to the injured area, placing a thin towel between the ice and the skin. Use ice for 20 minutes and then wait at least 40 minutes before icing again.

The team may recommend an elastic wrap to control swelling. You should raise your injured ankle slightly above the level of your heart to reduce swelling.

Soon after the acute injury, the doctors start you on a rehabilitation program to promote healing and increase your range of motion.

They may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, to reduce pain and inflammation. In some cases, you may need prescription pain medications to provide adequate relief.

In more severe cases, you may require surgery to adequately treat an ankle sprain. Surgery often involves repairing the damaged ligament or ligaments.

If you suspect you’ve sprained your ankle, don’t delay in contacting the nearest office of Hosey and Murphy Foot & Ankle Centers. Call or schedule your appointment online.