According to the New York Times, the International Ankle Consortium, a group of researchers who study ankle injuries (yes! this isn’t an April Fool’s Day prank, such a group really exists), has determined that among all people who sprain their ankle, only 55% of them ever seek a doctor’s care. Dr. Megan L. Oltmann and Dr. Craig B. Frey of Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland think that’s not such a great plan.
Ankle sprains can be tricky, so it’s generally a good idea to get the damage assessed by a qualified foot and ankle specialist. It’s hard to miss it when you twist your ankle in an awkward direction, and we’ve all done it at one time or another. But it’s not always easy to tell just how badly you’ve damaged it.
A trio of symptoms; a trio of damages There are three symptoms that define an ankle sprain: swelling, bruising, and pain. But you need to get to the bottom of the cause of these three symptoms in order to treat the sprain properly. Here are the three levels of damage:
- You’ve stretched the soft tissues in your ankle beyond their normal range.
- You’ve caused some small tears within this soft tissue.
- You’ve completely torn the tissue in one or more places.
Wait, what soft tissue? Ligaments are the soft tissues that connect one bone to another. Tendons connect muscle to bone. These soft tissues are responsible for keeping your skeleton together, keeping your bones stable and working in harmony with your muscles. You might think of your soft tissues as wires that run from an old-fashioned record player to a speaker. When you interrupt that connection, the music stops. When you damage or cut your soft tissue “wires” – wham! – The harmonious dance between your foot and ankle bones and muscles can’t take place.
So now what? Damaged ligaments need to be rested, so limit or stop all activity, including walking. Minimize swelling by icing your ankle and wrapping it with a compression bandage. Make an appointment to see Dr. Frey or Dr. Oltmann to make sure your treatment goes far enough. If not treated properly, a sprained ankle is very likely to sprain again in the future.
Our podiatry office is located in the beautiful community of Solon, OH, and our expert advice is just a phone call away at (440) 903-1041.