Seek Sprained Ankle Treatment to Prevent Long-Term Problems
Twists and Turns
For many of us in the Roaring Fork Valley, sprains are a reality of our active lifestyles. You may experience an unexpected ankle twist on the Hunter Creek or Arbaney Kittle trails. Or, perhaps a hard landing on one of the many tennis courts in Aspen has you waiting on the sideline. It’s important to seek medical attention sooner, rather than later. With prompt sprained ankle treatment, many ankle sprains can heal successfully. The price for waiting may mean a sad ending to your favorite Aspen activities.
Locals in Motion
At OrthoAspen, it’s not uncommon for patients to recognize our orthopedic physicians and surgeons when they meet them at the office. That’s because our OrthoAspen doctors can often be spotted around the valley, enjoying the same active lifestyle as you! Like our patients, OrthoAspen fellowship-trained ankle and foot orthopedic specialists understand the importance of “getting back out there!”
To ensure a safe return to active mountain living, learn how to access rapid attention for sprained ankle symptoms and begin your recovery process now.
Making the Grade
When the strong ligaments that support the ankle are stretched beyond their means, the result is an ankle sprain. Sprains often occur during a sport or activity. Walking or running on an uneven surface and performing quick, “cutting actions” (such as those common in tennis, football and basketball) are often sprain instigators.
If you experience a roll or twist of the ankle during activity and the following symptoms, it is likely that an ankle sprain has occurred:
- Bruising and pain
- Swelling and tenderness
- Instability of the ankle, making mobility difficult
When an orthopedic physician determines the presence of an ankle sprain, the injury is diagnosed as one of three sprained ankle grades. The severity of the injury will determine how to treat a sprained ankle and how long the injury may take to heal. However, even severe ankle sprains can often be addressed with non-surgical treatment methods.
- Grade One Ankle Sprain
The ankle has experienced minor ligament tears, producing mild tenderness and swelling.
- Grade Two Sprain
The ankle has undergone a partial ligament tear in combination with moderate tenderness and swelling and abnormal looseness of the ankle joint.
- Grade Three Sprain
The ankle ligament has experienced a complete tear with major tenderness and swelling, accompanied by significant ankle instability.
Even if you’ve experienced a grade three ankle sprain, it’s best to seek treatment immediately. Repeat ankle sprains may lead to future problems such as arthritis, chronic ankle pain and ankle instability.
Sprained Ankle Treatment Time and Recovery According to Sprain Grade
Like most injuries, recovery time varies. Generally, an orthopedic foot and ankle specialist will devise a three-phase conservative treatment plan for a sprained ankle, which consists of:
- Phase One
The RICE method (rest, ice, compression and elevation) is often prescribed to reduce pain and swelling. Assisted devices such as a brace or wrap may be recommended to protect and secure the ankle.
- Phase Two
At this stage, rehabilitation exercises are typically introduced to help strengthen and improve range of motion in the foot and ankle. A brace or wrap may still be necessary, especially during sports activities.
- Phase Three
While continuing with rehabilitation exercises, an orthopedic physician may clear the patient for a return to certain activities. Any physical activity that involves turning or twisting the ankle should still be avoided during this healing phase.
Based on the sprain grade and how well a patient responds to the recovery phases, it can take anywhere from two weeks for grade one sprains and closer to 6 to 12 weeks for grade two and three ankle sprains to heal. Vigilantly adhering to the prescribed sprained ankle treatment at home will help expedite the recovery.
Get Help Now
Don’t wait to seek sprained ankle treatment. Instead, go to the Western Slope’s trusted source for quality treatment and care for orthopedic conditions and injuries. Our OrthoAspen foot and ankle team is here to help you return to a life of motion—safely and effectively.
Schedule an appointment now, or contact us today at 970-544-1289 for any questions.