Ankle Sprain & Fracture Care
A wrong step. A twist. A snap. Your ankle is in agony. The ankle is an important “hinge” where three bones and several ligaments come together. It’s important to treat the injury properly and quickly.
The specialists at Lederman Kwartowitz Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in West Bloomfield and Farmington Hills, Michigan are ready to help get your ankle back in proper working order. The following is a guide to the most common ankle injuries and steps you can take to start feeling better.
Ankle Sprain — What Do I Do?
As one of the most common injuries to the ankle, ligaments can loosen, stretch, and possibly even tear. Did you hear a pop? Feel a snap? Are you unable to put full or some weight on the ankle? Most likely your ankle is sprained.
For most ankle injuries, a quick way to start the healing process and slow down the damage is to R.I.C.E.
Rest: First, it’s important to get off your ankle as soon as possible. The more weight or stress placed on an injured ankle, the more damage may occur. Try to stay off of your ankle as much as you can for at least 24 hours.
Ice: Apply a bag of ice or even a bag of frozen vegetables in 20 minute increments to help bring down swelling. Avoid direct contact with the skin as a “burn” or “frost bite” can occur.
Compression: Wrap an Ace bandage snugly around the ankle but not too tight that it cuts off circulation. When wrapping, overlap the bandage about half of its width each time. It’s important to remember that if your toes start to tingle or become cold, the wrap is too tight.
Elevate: Lie down and prop your ankle on pillows or some other comfortable object. You’ll want to raise your leg just slightly higher than your heart. Elevation will allow some of the fluid to move away from the injured ankle, reducing swelling.
Ankle Fracture – When an Ankle Injury is More Than a Sprain
Only an evaluation with X-rays can determine whether your injury is a sprain or a break/fracture. With today’s technology and advanced treatments available, fractures should be treated with either a cast or surgery – depending on the type of break. Either way, physical therapy is eventually utilized to strengthen the area. MLS laser therapy is an additional treatment option to get you back on the field and running in record time.
If your ankle pain is severe, you’re unable to bear weight, or your ankle looks deformed or crooked, call our ankle doctors right away to schedule an appointment. Depending on the severity, you’ll be seen the same day or next day for evaluation and treatment. If your injury is more serious or if it is after office hours, we may advise you to be seen at Lakes Urgent Care.
Knowing and understanding the different types of sprains are essential to getting back to full health.
A grade 1 sprain is when the ligament is stretched but comes back to its normal length. To get back in motion, this can be easily treated with the R.I.C.E method and by using an ankle brace that fits in your shoe. Usual symptoms are mild swelling, tenderness, and pain. Typical healing time is 2-3 weeks.
A grade 2 sprain is a partial tear of the ligament. Symptoms include moderate swelling, tenderness and pain, decreased range of motion, and mild instability to the ankle. The R.I.C.E method can be used to bring down swelling and control pain. It’s important to seek evaluation to stabilize the joint. Treatment will include fitting you with a walking boot or possibly a cast to immobilize the ankle. Physical therapy may also be prescribed. Average healing time is 4-6 weeks.
The most severe sprain is a grade 3 – a complete tear of the ligament. Symptoms are significant swelling, pain, and instability. A grade 3 sprain requires a cast to immobilize the joint so that it can heal, physical therapy and, sometimes, surgery to correct the tear. Healing time depends on the individual and if surgery is needed.
Case Study – Saving a Soccer Season
A soccer player recently came into Lederman Kwartowitz Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine and was diagnosed with a grade 2 ankle sprain. He was casted for two weeks, re-examined, and found that the swelling had decreased. In anticipation of this fact, the physical therapist had already been scheduled at that time to begin physical therapy. MLS laser therapy was also initiated for one to two weeks of treatment.
The results? A normally season-ending injury that takes up to 8 weeks to heal was treated and rehabilitated and the athlete was back on the field in less than a month. Severe strains and sprains may require a longer healing period. Regardless of your injury, the experts at Lederman Kwartowitz Center for Orthopedics & Sports Medicine can help you salvage a season or even a career.