Sometimes Sprained Ankles Need Treatment

Health & Medical Blog

Most people occasionally take a bad step, twisting their ankle a little. Often, if you rest for a minute or walk gingerly for a while, the pain will subside and everything will be okay. But this is not always the case. Sometimes, sprained ankles are more serious and do require medical care. If your ankle pain doesn't go away in an hour or two, or if your ankle swells after you twist it, then you really should seek care. Here are the key treatments a foot and ankle specialist may recommend.


RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. If the doctor finds that your sprain is on the milder side, they'll generally recommend RICE as a starting point for treatment. All of these steps are intended to reduce inflammation in the affected tissues. This will allow your ankle to heal faster. Your doctor will generally give you specific instructions as to how often to ice the ankle, how long you should spend with it elevated, and how long to rest. They may also send you home with a bandage or wrap to compress the joint.


If your doctor does not think that RICE alone will manage your ankle pain and inflammation, they may also advise you to take NSAID medications, such as naproxen or ibuprofen. These meds will give you more inflammation-reduction power, which may be what your ankle needs to heal. 

Cortisone Shots

If you have a more serious sprain, or if the sprain doesn't heal with RICE and NSAIDs, then your doctor might administer a cortisone shot. This shot will be given directly to the injured part of your ankle. It will hurt at first, but your ankle should start to feel much better within a couple of days. Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory and can jump-start the healing process.


Don't assume you'll need surgery unless your foot and ankle specialist tells you that you do. It's rare that sprained ankles require surgery, but it does happen on occasion, so you should be aware of the possibility. The surgery generally involves repairing the stretched, strained ligament. It can usually be done arthroscopically through a small incision and will be followed up with physical therapy.

Sometimes sprained ankles really are no big deal, but other times, they need to be treated professionally. If you can't "walk off" a sprain, contact a foot doctor near you. 


27 April 2022

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