The A-to-Zs of ankle sprains

It's officially fall!  That means leaves will start changing,and Halloween and Thanksgiving are just down the road.  On weekends, there's plenty to keep sports fans entertained, whether it's watching the Lemont High School Indians play football on Friday nights, seeing the Chicago Bears meet their opponents at Soldier Field,or anticipating the first games of the new seasons for the Chicago Bulls and the Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks.

As cool-weather sports get underway, one thing that can keep any player benched are issues such as ankle sprains. One risk factor that can lead to sprains is high-impact sports such as basketball, tennis, soccer or running on uneven surfaces.

A sprain happens when the ankle is forced out of its normal position, beyond the control of surrounding ligaments. This can lead to one or more ligaments overstretching and possibly tearing.

Sprains are a common injury that Dr. Michelle Kim and Dr.Diana Emini see at DM Foot and Ankle Associates. Situations that can lead to ankle sprains include:

* A fall that causes the ankle to twist. Injuries where the foot rolls away from the body are most common.

* Awkwardly planting the foot after jumping, pivoting, getting out of bed, or stepping off a curb.

* Sports where a player steps on another player, such as in basketball.

* Walking or stepping on uneven surfaces, such as stepping into a hole.

Those who suffer from sprains feel pain when they get injured, and may have a hard time walking and putting weight on that foot during the healing process.

In severe cases, surgery might be needed, butfortunately the majority will heal with the following treatments:

* Medications to reduce pain and inflammation

Soft casts to compress and immobilize the ankle

* Doctor-prescribed ankle braces to decrease rotation of the foot and ankle

* Custom arch supports and proper shoe gearto control foot motion and prevent future injuries

* Physical therapy for rehabilitation, full healing,and to reduce the chances of another ankle sprain

* Cortisone injections for stubborn pain and swelling

Those suffering from a sprained ankle should get X-rays to rule-out a broken bone. Although no bone may have been broken, soft tissue injuries will take just as long as bone to heal – usually around six to eight weeks. Sprains left untreated can leave the ligaments permanently stretched out, which can then lead to repeated sprains. Avoid re-injury by following the proper treatment given to you by your doctor. 

At DM Foot and Ankle, we have on-site digital X-rays and same day appointments – so skip the emergency room and hop on over to our clinic for immediate foot and ankle care.

 

By Michelle Kim

 

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