Was it a slip on the ice? A run down a ski hill that didn’t end well? Or perhaps a LEGO® you didn’t see while traversing through your family room. However it happened, your ankle is killing you. It’s swollen, hurts to walk on, turning lovely shades of black and blue, and it isn’t very pleasant.
So what’s your next step? Is it broken? Sprained? And how would you know?
Some may think extreme pain indicates a break, but that’s not always the case
“Sometimes, a sprain can be even more painful than a break,” noted Julia Pagano, DPM, a podiatrist at OSMC. Sprains vary in severity.
All sprains, regardless of the severity, require rest, ice, compression, and elevation — or better known as RICE.
- 1. Rest. Limit or avoid activities that cause pain, swelling, or discomfort.
- 2. Ice immediately for 15 to 20 minutes and repeat every two to three hours throughout your waking hours.
- 3. Compression helps control the swelling. Compress your ankle with an elastic bandage.
- 4. Elevation. To help with circulation, place pillows underneath your feet and ankles to elevate them to the level of your heart.
While you may be a go-getter, sprains take time to heal.
“If you only suffered damage to your ligaments, you may start to feel like you’re back to normal in about six weeks,” said Pagano. “Of course, everyone heals at their own pace. Six weeks for recovery is the goal.”
But what do you do if you can’t apply pressure to your foot or ankle? Did you hear a popping noise when you hurt yourself? Is your pain getting worse? Can you move your ankle in any direction? Chances are you may have a fractured ankle.
“Ankle injuries can be tricky,” admitted Pagano. “Often, an x-ray is needed to determine if your ankle is sprained or broken.”
Follow the RICE method, and if your ankle isn’t getting better, then it’s time to call your doctor.
Concerned about an ankle injury? Call (574) 264-0791
to schedule an appointment with a doctor at an OSMC office today — no referral needed!