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What are the Symptoms of a Sprained Ankle – Treatments

Sprained Ankle

Almost everyone has twisted an ankle at one time or another. Yet if the ankle becomes very painful and begins to swell after the injury you’ve probably sprained it. A sprained ankle is a very specific injury. The ligaments holding the ankle together become stretched out or even torn. This usually happens to the outside ligaments when an ankle “rolls.”

Sprained Ankle

Podiatrists are the type of doctor most qualified to diagnose your ankle sprain and help you recover quickly. Without proper care, a bad sprain can affect a patient’s ability to walk. This can drastically lower quality of life.

These are usually minor injuries, but can also be quiet severe. Since ligaments connect the bones of the ankle together a bad ankle sprain can cause a joint to lose stability. When this happens surgery may become an option.

Many people sprain the same ankle over and over because the ligaments have become weakened and stretched out. This can result in chronic joint pain, muscle weakness, and early onset arthritis.

If you suspect that you’ve sprained an ankle, it’s best to see a podiatrist. These doctors specialize in foot care and many offer on-site X-rays and treatments designed to help you recover as quickly as possible.
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Sprained Ankle treatment in pittsburgh pa

X-rays of the Sprained Ankle

How does a doctor diagnose a sprained ankle?

You’ll be given a physical exam of the ankle and lower leg. It’s common for other injuries to accompany a sprained ankle, such as cuts or broken skin

A sprained ankle is often diagnosed clinically, based on the symptoms a patient has and a thorough physical exam. The doctor will ask you how the injury happened and examine the foot, ankle, and lower leg.

In all but the most mild cases it’s a good idea to have X-ray images taken of the injured ankle. This is to rule out hairline or twisting fractures which can occur along with the sprain..

X-ray images of the foot and ankle will be taken following your exam to rule out fractures. This is especially important. Fractures often occur with severe ankle sprains, and they may be difficult to detect hairline fractures. Your doctor will also grade your sprain on a 3-point scale. 1 indicates only very minor tearing, while 3 indicates a complete tear.

Correcting ankle instability with PRP and stem Cells

Ankle sprains are usually only minor injuries, and most people make a full recovery. Yet in other cases the ankle will become repeatedly re-injured. Each new sprain occurs easier than the last, and has a greater chance of being more severe. The ligaments which hold the ankle together will begin to stretch out over time, possibly tearing.

PRP ankle sprain
Platelet-Rich plasma preparation.

A patient’s sense of how their own ankle is moving, known as proprioception, is almost always negatively impacted. This results in reduced coordination, increasing the likelihood of future sprains even further. This is the second and (often underappreciated and undertreated) part of the problem.

This type of chronic ankle instability is usually described as “uncommon.” It occurs in a small but significant number of people, particularly young athletes. Most busy podiatrists or physical therapists will see several patients with chronically sprained ankles on a daily basis. In severe cases, even an untrained lay-person who grasps and rotates the affected ankle can feel the excessive laxity.

This condition can be exceedingly difficult to fully resolve, and surgery will often do more harm than good. It usually isn’t even considered in all but the most severe cases, where it’s usually ineffective if performed. The surgical techniques at our disposal are remarkable, but they’re not suited for the task of tightening a stretched ligament. Incomplete healing and re-injury, which leads to increasing instability, is actually the central issue.

It’s important that this is dealt with properly, preferably early in the re-injury cycle. This can prevent a chronic condition which could otherwise persist for years or even decades. The unique nature of the ankle joint is the primary reason for this. We spend a large portion of our waking hours standing, walking, or even running. Activities such as weight training put even more extreme demands on the ankle joint. Any changes in how the ankle joint moves, especially instability, can affect the patient’s knees, hips, and lower back.

Several Regenerative Medicine techniques now exist which can overcome this vicious cycle. These approaches are non-surgical, requiring precisely placed injections in place of incisions. The risk of side effects is almost non-existent, including the potentially serious damage which can result from failed surgery. Regenerative treatments such as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections and Stem Cell Therapy addresses the underlying cause. It’s especially effective when combined with physical therapy to regain lost coordination and proprioception. This combined approach is one of the best ways to avoid re-injury among athletes of all levels.

Sprained Ankle treatment in pittsburgh pa

What exactly is a sprained ankle?

An ankle sprain happens when the ligaments holding the joint together are torn or stretched out. It’s an extremely common sports injury and can be quite painful.

Ankle sprain signs and symptoms:

·         Immediate pain and swelling.

·         Difficulty moving the ankle.

·         Pain when putting weight on the ankle.

Diagnosis and symptoms of an ankle sprain:

The primary symptoms of a sprained ankle are swelling and pain. With a severe ankle sprain (especially a high ankle sprain) the pain can be so bad that weight bearing is impossible. The injured ankle can also display bruising and is usually warm to the touch.

Immobilization of the Sprained Ankle

Ankle sprains vary tremendously in severity. In minor cases no treatment is necessary and the problem resolves on its own. In the most severe cases the ligaments have torn completely and surgery is the only option. After a mild sprain the ankle will be tender and swollen, and will often feel stiff the next day. These mild sprains usually need no treatment beyond RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). More severe sprains will show heavy bruising and joint instability, which happens when the ligaments which hold the ankle together are completely torn. In these cases the ankle can’t bear weight and the pain is severe.

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What exactly is a sprained or “twisted” ankle?

What exactly is a sprained ankle?

ankle sprain specialistAn ankle sprain happens when the ligaments holding the joint together are torn or stretched out. It’s an extremely common sports injury and can be quite painful.

Ankle sprain signs and symptoms:

Immediate pain and swelling.
Difficulty moving the ankle.
Pain when putting weight on the ankle.
Two main types of ankle sprains exist:

Ankle Sprains: Inversion and Eversion.

· Eversion sprains—this happens when the ankle rolls inwards. The deltoid ligament on the inside of the ankle becomes stretched out or torn.

· Inversion sprains—this happens when the ankle twists outwards. The ligaments on the side of the ankle become stretched out or torn.

Of the two, inversion sprains are by more common by far. This is the traditional “rolled” ankle.

The ankle can be divided into three sections: lateral (side), medial (inner), and high. All of these areas prone to sprain injuries.

· Lateral ankle sprains occur most frequently. The ligaments preventing your foot from rolling inward are stretched or torn.

· Medial ankle sprains aren’t as common. The ligaments preveitnign your foot from rolling outward are stretched or torn.

· High ankle sprains are also referred to as “tib/fib” sprains. The ligaments which hold the two bones of the leg (tibia and fibula) are torn or stretched slightly above the actual ankle. This injury is more severe, and occurs when the lower leg and ankle forcefully twist away from the body.

How long does it take for a sprained ankle to heal, and what factors can affect the recovery time?

The time it takes for a sprained ankle to heal can vary depending on the severity of the sprain and individual factors. In general, most mild to moderate ankle sprains can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to heal. However, more severe sprains may take several months to fully recover.

Factors that can affect the recovery time of a sprained ankle include:

  1. Severity of the Sprain:

Ankle sprains are often classified into three grades based on their severity. Grade 1 (mild) sprains may heal faster than Grade 2 (moderate) or Grade 3 (severe) sprains.

  1. Treatment Initiation:

Starting appropriate treatment early, such as R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and physical therapy, can speed up the healing process.

  1. Rest and Immobilization:

Properly resting and protecting the injured ankle from further stress or strain can promote healing.

  1. Physical Therapy:

Engaging in physical therapy exercises and rehabilitation can help strengthen the ankle and improve flexibility, leading to faster recovery.

  1. Age and Health Condition:

Younger individuals and those in good overall health may heal more quickly than older adults or those with underlying health conditions.

  1. Previous Injuries:

Individuals with a history of ankle sprains may experience longer recovery times, as repeated injuries can weaken the ankle.

  1. Compliance with Treatment:

Following the healthcare provider’s advice and adhering to the prescribed treatment plan can impact recovery time.

  1. Presence of Swelling or Bruising:

Swelling and bruising can indicate more significant tissue damage, which may require longer healing time.

  1. Proper Rehabilitation:

Gradually reintroducing weight-bearing and physical activities can prevent reinjury and aid in complete healing.

  1. Use of Supportive Devices:

Wearing ankle braces or supports during the healing process can provide stability and protect the ankle.

The Three Point Scale: Ankle Sprains Grade I, II, and III.

Your podiatrist or orthopedist will likely grade your ankle on a 3-point scale. This is based on the amount of damage the ligaments in your ankle have sustained.

  • Grade I (least severe): The ligaments have been over-stretched, but are not torn. The ankle will appear mildly swollen and may be moderately painful. You’ll probably feel stiff the next day.
  • Grade II (mid-severity): Some or all of the ligaments have been partially torn. There is likely to be bruising, and the pain will be worse than with grade I. Often the patient can’t bear weight on the affected ankle.
  • Grade III (most severe): In this cases some or all of the ligaments of the ankle have been torn completely. This is often accompanied by a popping or snapping sound, and the pain is immediate and severe. Severe bruising and swelling will occur. In grade III sprains it is extremely unlikely that the patient will be able to bear any weight on the injured ankle. Surgery is often necessary.

ankle sprain orthopedic surgeon

Ankle sprain risk factors and causes:

  • Wearing shoes which don’t support the ankle properly. A good example is wearing running shoes to play basketball.
  • Placing excessive stress on the ankle. This often occurs when walking or running on uneven surfaces.
  • Playing high impact sports with a lot of quick stopping, starting, jumping, and body contact. Two good examples are football and basketball.

Ankle sprain risk factors and causes:

Wearing shoes which don’t support the ankle properly. A good example is wearing running shoes to play basketball.
Placing excessive stress on the ankle. This often occurs when walking or running on uneven surfaces.
Playing high impact sports with a lot of quick stopping, starting, jumping, and body contact. Two good examples are football and basketball.

What can cause a sprained ankle?

The vast majority of sprains occur when the body shifts rapidly over a planted foot. This can happen in contact sports like football and basketball. It also happens quite frequently when walking or running on uneven terrain. The most common type of ankle sprain is the “inversion” sprain. The ankle will roll away from the body and the foot will turn inward, damaging the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. This is the classic “rolled” ankle. Slightly less common is the opposite: the “eversion” sprain. This happens when the ankle rolls towards the body and the foot turns outward. In this case the ligaments on the inside of the ankle are damaged.

Possible complications:

The most common complication of ankle sprains are further sprains. When the ankle ligaments are stretched out or even torn, the joint loses stability and is likely to become injured again. It’s a self-perpetuating or “vicious” cycle.

A bad ankle sprain might also cause a change in your gait. This can do many things, including causing hip and low back pain.Sprained Ankle treatment in pittsburgh

When an ankle is sprained repeatedly negative long term effects can be seen. Chronic joint pain, muscle weakness, and wear and tear arthritis are common.
Make an appointment with a podiatrist if you feel you’ve sprained an ankle. Dr. Christina Teimouri of the Beaver Valley Foot Clinic offers on-site X-rays and minimally invasive treatments to help you recover as soon as possible. Call us at (838) 313-3338 today. Same day appointments are often available.

What are the symptoms of an ankle sprain?

Ankle sprains are fairly straightforward. You’ll feel pain at the site of the ligament injury. The ankle will swell immediately, and bruising may be present. It hurts to move the joint, and the area is tender to the touch.

When severe ankle sprains occur, it’s common to feel or hear something pop or snap as the ligaments tear. The pain is immediate and severe, and it’s often impossible to put any weight on the ankle, much less walk. As a general rule, the greater the pain and swelling the greater the healing time. In the most severe cases surgery is necessary to re-connect ligaments.



R = REST the injured ankle.

I = Apply ICE.

C = Apply COMPRESSION (air bracing, taping, or compression wrapping).

E = ELEVATE the ankle.

If the injury impairs your ability to walk you’ll probably need crutches. Supportive boots are used extensively. Traditional plaster casting is common as well.

Other non-invasive treatments include:

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen, naproxen sodium, and aspirin to control swelling and pain.

Undergoing physical therapy to improve strength and overall function. This helps prevent further ankle sprains.

Working with an athletic trainer or coach to develop proper technique to avoid injury.

If you were injured playing a sport, make sure you’re wearing the correct footwear.

An expert provider such as a podiatrist or sports medicine doctor can best treat your sprained ankle. They’ll not only get you back on the field but teach you how to avoid another injury.sprained ankle treatment in Pittsburgh



For both acute injuries and longstanding pain and swelling we have unique pain lasers to treat your injury; K-Laser can help speed up healing and

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Treating a sprained ankle:

When treating an ankle sprain, the RICE approach is often recommended. Note however t

hat more severe sprains require professional care. When in doubt seek help from your podiatrist.

Many foot doctors (podiatrists) offer same day appointments and can take on-site X-rays. This is done to rule out a fracture. In most cases, they can provide treatments including protective boots and plaster casting on the first visit.

Call the Beaver Valley Foot Clinic at (724) 772-FOOT (3668) to book your appointment.