Ankle injuries are all too common, and many people still follow the outdated belief that pushing through the pain instead of visiting a podiatrist is the way to heal. A podiatry specialist can properly assign a grade level to an ankle injury and recommend treatment. For acute ankle sprains, there are some at-home remedies that can help promote healing. For more complicated injuries, multiple visits to the doctor for monitoring and progressive treatment may be necessary.
Self-treating an ankle injury can make the problem worse. If there is any indication that the injury is more serious than a slight sprain, a visit to a podiatrist may be in order. These medical professionals can make treatment recommendations based on the severity level of the injury.
For lowest-grade level ankle sprains, the first line of treatment is rest. When a patient decides to push through the pain, more damage can be done to the injured area. It is sometimes difficult to get patients to comply with resting restrictions, particularly children and athletes, but resting the ankle is a crucial component for recovery.
Along with rest, elevation of the affected leg is also one of the most commonly recommended healing tips. Elevating the ankle above the heart by placing pillows under leg reduces swelling, inflammation and pain. By allowing the excess fluid around the injury to flow back up the leg, it can be reabsorbed into the system and minimize swelling that presses on the nerves.
To reduce swelling and numb the injured area, podiatrists recommend combining rest and ankle elevation with an ice pack. The key to properly icing an ankle injury is to not overuse the ice. Cold should be placed on the injury during the first 48 hours and only left on 20 to 30 minutes at a time. The process can be repeated every two to three hours.
For injuries that are a higher grade, a doctor typically recommends adding compression to the treatment plan. Compressing the ankle keeps it from moving more than necessary and causing more injury. Compression is accomplished through a simple air cast or by wrapping the ankle with an elastic bandage to further reduce the swelling.
Higher-grade ankle injuries call for a more advanced treatment plan. Some higher-grade injuries involve torn ligaments that need the stabilization of a cast or brace. The worst cases need surgical intervention if the injury is not healing using other methods. A podiatrist can determine whether an orthopedic device is necessary.
A visit to a podiatrist is the next step for an ankle injury that goes beyond a mild sprain. After an evaluation, a treatment plan can be established for the patient to follow at home. By following the direction of the doctor and committing to at-home treatment, a patient can be on the path to healing in no time.
Request an appointment here: https://utahpodiatry.com or call Foot & Ankle Specialty Clinic at (435) 799-8089 for an appointment in our Logan office.
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