A sprained ankle can cause serious pain, discomfort, and frustration. Though they present some of the same symptoms as a broken bone, a sprain affects the soft tissues which surround the bones and joints. If you sprain your ankle, you may not know the first steps to take to ensure a timely and healthy recovery. Find out what to do if you think you have sprained your ankle with Dr. Richard Wittock at the Ankle and Foot Institute in Fenton, MO, and serving the St. Louis area.
Is my ankle sprained or broken?
Sprains almost always occur after an event or injury, such as tripping or rolling the ankle. A sprain affects the soft tissues, often those which lie above the ankle joint. If your ankle is sprained or broken, you will notice pain, discomfort, and swelling. However, the pain associated with a sprain is concentrated over the ankle’s soft tissues around the joint. A break would be centered on the bone itself. Additionally, if you have a break, chances are that you will not be able to place any pressure on the affected area at all. A sprain may allow you to place some pressure on the area.
When should I see a doctor?
Your doctor is able to help you determine if your injury is a sprain or a break. If you have severe pain or swelling or you notice an open wound around the affected area, or if you experience the signs of infection, such as a fever or redness, warmth, or tenderness in the area, you should seek immediate medical attention. Schedule a visit with your doctor if you have persistent swelling or pain which lasts more than a few days, or if you still have pain after several weeks. Your doctor will use an imaging technique to definitively determine whether your ankle is broken or sprained.
Treating a Sprained Ankle in Fenton and St. Louis
Treating a sprained ankle often begins with the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This allows the body’s natural healing processes to work uninterrupted. Over-the-counter medications can help with pain and swelling. If these methods fail to produce results, your doctor may suggest more invasive or in-depth techniques like physical therapy or, in rare cases, surgery.
For more information on sprained ankles, please contact Dr. Wittock at Ankle and Foot Institute in Fenton, MO, and the St. Louis area. Call (636) 717-1100 to schedule your appointment today!