About 30% of sports injuries consist of sprained ankles, which doesn’t include the thousands of people who accidentally sprain their ankle during their daily routine. Dr. Mafutaga Tagaloa-Tulifau encourages you to get a thorough check-up for a sprained ankle to ensure you regain optimal strength and lower your risk for future injuries. Call her practice, Tagaloa-Tulifau Foot & Ankle Center, Inc in Lakewood, California, or book an appointment online to receive expert medical care of your sprained ankle.
A sprained ankle occurs when ligaments are stretched or torn.
The most common ankle sprains happen when your foot turns inward, and ligaments on the outside of your ankle are damaged. You can experience this type of sprain from a sudden movement, or it can develop gradually as small stress tears worsen.
Many people twist their foot and sprain their ankle while walking or running on an uneven surface. Activities that require sideways movements, like tennis, basketball, and football, are also top causes of sprained ankles.
The classic symptoms of a sprained ankle include:
Dr. Tagaloa-Tulifau takes an X-ray to evaluate your ankle and to rule out a fracture. Treatment begins with rest, elevating the ankle, and applying ice to reduce swelling.
She may recommend compression bandages to immobilize and support your ankle and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication to relieve pain and swelling.
The next step in your treatment is to restore strength and range of motion and create a plan to return to your normal activities. It could take 2-12 weeks, depending on the severity of your ankle sprain, but you should take it easy, so you don’t re-injure your ankle.
While most ankle sprains respond to conservative treatment – even a complete ligament tear can fully heal with immobilization and rehabilitation – you may need surgery to repair or reconstruct the ligaments if your ankle doesn’t improve or your injury was severe.
After an ankle sprain, you may not regain optimal muscle strength or proprioception, which leads to chronic ankle instability. Your risk for a future ankle sprain significantly increases when the ligaments don’t heal properly and remain unstable.
Even if you had a mild ankle sprain, schedule an appointment with Dr. Tagaloa-Tulifau if your pain continues for more than six weeks. That’s a sign of a chronic sprain, which means your ankle is weak and susceptible to another injury.
You can call the doctor’s office or use the convenient online booking feature to schedule a thorough examination of your ankle.