Philadelphia Tri-state Area Podiatrists Answer Foot Health Questions
We believe that every question deserves a good answer. Healthmark Foot and Ankle provides you the best up-to date information for your concerns.
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How long will my sprained ankle take to heal?
If your sprain did not require surgery, you should see improvement in four to six weeks. However, patients will heal at different rates—and impatient sufferers may set back their healing times by trying to do too much too quickly.
Your sprained ankle treatment in PA will likely begin by immobilizing the joint. Most injuries will need to be protected from further damage as they heal, so you may need to wear a cast or boot to keep the ankle stable as you walk, sit, and sleep.
Many patients who find walking difficult in the first week after injuring an ankle benefit from using a cane or crutches to bear their weight. However, much of the swelling and pain will subside in three or four days, especially if the patient applies ice and takes anti-inflammatory medication.
When the swelling has subsided, your doctor may recommend motion exercises to strengthen your foot. These can be painful at first but will prevent stiffness as your ankle heals. It is vital that you only do as many movements—and only for the length of time—that your doctor prescribes.
The important thing to remember is that a full recovery cannot be rushed. Injuries from minor sprains to completely torn ligaments can heal without surgery, but recuperation will take time. There is no way to speed up the process, and there are many ways to re-injure the joint while it is vulnerable during healing.
The trusted podiatrists at HealthMark Foot & Ankle Associates can help you develop a healing plan that will get you back on your feet as soon as possible. Call us today at 610-565-3668 in Media or 610-933-8644 in Phoenixville to set up your first consultation.
How often should I ice my sprained ankle?
This is a very important question. Since you want your sprained ankle to heal as quickly as possible, you might be tempted to leave ice on your ankle for hours at a time. But while icing an ankle can greatly reduce the swelling, it can also cause nerve damage if the ice pack is left on too long.
Here are some guidelines for the most effective way to use ice in easing the pain of a sprained ankle:
- How long? Ice should only be left on your injured ankle for up to 20 minutes at a time. As a general rule, you should remove the ice when your skin feels numb.
- How often? You should use ice treatments every 2 to 4 hours in the first 3 days after your injury.
- Should I wrap my ankle with ice? Yes. The ice pack method is the best way to do this. Fill a plastic bag halfway with crushed ice, and wrap a thin cloth around your injured ankle. Place the ice pack over the ankle and wrap a bandage around it to keep it in place.
- What’s a slush bath? A slush bath might work best for severe sprains or extreme swelling. Fill a large bucket with water and crushed ice, and place your ankle in the bucket until it is numb.
- What else? If you have a small, localized sprain, you may consider an ice massages. Wrap an ice cube in a tea towel with one end exposed. Rub the uncovered end of the ice cube slowly over the sprained area using a circular motion. Don’t hold the ice on any one spot for longer than 30 seconds.
For a personalized diagnosis and treatment plan, contact the trusted podiatrists at Healthmark Foot and Ankle Associates today at 610-565-3668 in Media or 610-933-8644 in Phoenixville.
I heard a “pop” when I twisted my ankle. This means it’s broken, right?
Not necessarily. Although it may seem strange, a popping sound is more commonly associated with an ankle sprain than an ankle fracture, leading many people to start their course of treatment quite literally on the wrong foot.
Here are a few side-effects of an ankle injury that can be both sprained ankle and fracture symptoms:
A “snapping” sound. It is common to hear a snapping or popping sound when one of the body’s joints is injured. A “pop” can indicate misalignment in an ankle, a knee, or a shoulder, without the presence of a fracture.
Pain. Many people assume that overwhelming pain indicates a broken bone in the ankle. However, since some sprains can cause more pain than fractures do, pain level is an ineffective way to diagnose the injury.
Sensitivity. Being unable to stand, walk, put weight on the injured foot, or even touch the skin at the injury site can be signs of either a sprain or a break.
Swelling. Both breaks and sprains can cause swelling in the ankle and leg.
Bruising.While both a fracture and sprain can cause bruising, many patients with fractures won’t notice a bruise until their cast has been removed.
The best way to determine the extent of your injury is with a physical examination and an X-ray to check for signs of fracture. If you are suffering from a severe ankle injury in the Philadelphia-area, Healthmark Foot & Ankle Associates can diagnose and treat your injury today at three of our convenient locations.
How long does it take for a sprain to heal?
Sprains or ligament tears can take from a few weeks to several months to heal. These injuries have relatively low blood supply compared to bone or muscle and thus can take longer to heal.
What is a stress fracture?
A stress fracture is a fatigue failure of bone. It is usually caused by repetitive stress placed on the bone in areas where pressure is not accustomed to handling. Some stress fractures initially show up in x-rays, but many do not appear until later on when signs of healing are present in second or third x-rays photos. Having an MRI also helps to locate stress fractures as well.
Can a sprain be worse than a fracture?
Sprains are injuries that involve ligaments. Ligaments connect bones to each other and their integrity contributes greatly to joint stability. There are various grades of injury to ligaments. Higher grade injuries can result in chronic joint instability and pain which may require surgical repair. A fracture is an injury to a bone when the tissue of the bone is broken. Many fractures will as strong as it was originally therefore, higher grade sprains can be worse than a fracture.