Foot + Ankle Specialty Centers
Podiatrist located in Gilbert, Scottsdale, Chandler, Mesa & Phoenix, AZ

Spraining an ankle is common yet quite frustrating. It affects everyone from athletes to children playing in the backyard. Understanding treatments for sprained ankles can make a huge difference in your recovery. At Foot + Ankle Specialty Centers, we’re dedicated to providing you with all the information you need to get back on your feet.

Ankle Sprains Treatment in Phoenix, AZ

What is a Sprained Ankle?

Ligaments are tissues that help connect bones, joints, and organs and hold them in place. A sprained ankle occurs when the ankle-supporting ligaments stretch beyond their limits and tear, leading to pain and discomfort.

What is a High Ankle Sprain?

A high ankle sprain involves the ligaments that connect the two bones of the lower leg, just above the ankle. This type of sprain is less common but often more severe and can take longer to heal than a typical ankle sprain.

What Does a Sprained Ankle Look Like?

A sprained ankle typically looks swollen and bruised. The area around the ankle may be visibly puffy, and the skin can appear discolored due to bruising. In severe cases, the ankle might appear deformed if there is significant ligament damage.

Sprained Ankle Symptoms

Let’s look at signs of a sprained ankle:

  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Pain, especially when bearing weight
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Instability in the ankle

When to Worry about Sprained Ankles?

You need to seek medical attention if:

  • Your pain is severe, and you cannot walk or bear weight on the affected ankle.
  • You have significant swelling and bruising.
  • Your foot or ankle feels numb or tingling.
  • The ankle looks deformed or out of place.
  • You suspect a high ankle sprain or a fracture.

Ankle Sprain Grades

Ankle sprains are classified into three grades:

  • Grade 1 Ankle Sprain: This is a mild sprain. Your ligaments are slightly stretched and have tiny tears. Your ankle may feel tender and slightly swollen.
  • Grade 2 Ankle Sprain: This is a moderate sprain. The ligaments are partially torn. The ankle will have moderate tenderness, noticeable swelling, and some bruising.
  • Grade 3 Ankle Sprain: This is a severe sprain. The ligament is completely torn. The ankle will show significant swelling, be very tender and unstable, and cause severe pain.

Ligament damage and its severity differentiate between these grades. Grade 1 is the least severe, with minor stretching; Grade 2 involves partial tearing; and Grade 3 is the most severe, with a complete tear of the ligament.

How to Treat a Sprained Ankle?

Let’s see how to treat a sprained ankle. At the Foot + Ankle Specialty Centers, we might perform the following protocol for a sprained ankle:

  1. We advise patients to limit their activities and rest to lessen pain or discomfort.
  2. Our team recommends applying ice packs to the injured area. The application must be 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours. Ice packs reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
  3. We use elastic bandages or wraps to compress the ankle, which helps reduce swelling and provides support.
  4. We tell patients to keep the injured ankle elevated above heart level to minimize swelling and promote faster healing.
  5. Depending on the stage, we might recommend sprained ankle medication over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  6. To provide additional support and stability, we fit patients with ankle braces for sprained ankles. These braces protect the ankle during recovery and prevent further injury.
  7. If you need extra protection, especially during physical activities, we provide ankle guards for sprained ankles to offer enhanced support and stability.
  8. Our certified physical therapists design personalized exercise programs to restore movement, strength, and stability.

How to Heal a Sprained Ankle Overnight?

While complete healing overnight is unrealistic, you can reduce pain and swelling significantly:

  1. Stay off your feet as much as possible.
  2. Apply ice before bed to reduce swelling.
  3. Keep your ankle elevated on a pillow.
  4. Wear a snug, but not too tight, bandage or brace.

How Long Does a Sprained Ankle Take to Heal?

Sprained ankle recovery time can vary based on the stage:

  • Grade 1: Recovery typically takes 1-2 weeks.
  • Grade 2: Healing usually spans 3-4 weeks.
  • Grade 3: Recovery can take several months due to the severity of the ligament tear and the need for comprehensive rehabilitation.

High Ankle Sprain Recovery Time

Recovery from a high ankle sprain typically takes between 6 weeks to 3 months. The recovery depends on the severity of the injury. This healing time is due to the complexity of the ligaments involved and the higher demands on stability.

How Long Does a Sprained Ankle Stay Swollen?

Sprained ankle swelling duration varies by the severity of the sprain:

  • Mild sprain swelling typically lasts for a few days to a week.
  • Moderate to severe sprains and swelling can persist for several weeks.

Sprained Ankle Self-Care

Proper care for a sprained ankle at home is essential for healing to prevent further injury. Here’s how you do it:

  • Avoid walking or standing; use crutches if needed.
  • Use an ice pack for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours, especially in the first. Use an elastic bandage, snug but not too tight.
  • Keep the ankle raised above heart level as much as possible.
  • Take painkillers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

What Happens If an Ankle Sprain is Left Untreated?

Leaving an ankle sprain untreated can lead to chronic ankle instability, where the ankle becomes prone to giving way. Persistent pain and swelling may occur, increasing the risk of re-injury. Over time, this instability can lead to arthritis, causing long-term discomfort and joint damage. Proper treatment is essential to prevent these complications and ensure a full recovery.

What Worsens a Sprained Ankle?

Continuing to walk or run on an injured ankle can increase the damage. Not following proper treatment protocols like rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) prolongs the recovery time. Ignoring physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises can lead to longer healing times and more risk of chronic instability and re-injury. Adhering to recommended treatment is crucial for a swift and complete recovery.

Sprained Ankle Treatments Near Me in Arizona

If you’re dealing with a sprained ankle, the Foot + Ankle Specialty Centers can help. We have locations in Scottsdale, Phoenix, Chandler, Mesa, and Gilbert. Our experienced team is ready to provide you with the best care and treatment options. Visit our website at Foot + Ankle Specialty Centers to schedule an appointment today!

FAQs

How do I know if my ankle sprain is serious?

Seek medical attention if you cannot walk, have significant swelling, or suspect a high ankle sprain.

How to speed up ankle sprain recovery?

Rest, ice, compression, elevation, and follow your doctor’s advice, including physical therapy exercises.

What is the protocol for a sprained ankle?

Use the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Consult with a doctor for a tailored treatment plan.

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