It is estimated that 28,000 people injure their ankles every single day in the United States. This is mostly due to engaging in sports and is usually caused due to quick changes in direction, awkward landings from jumps, and stepping on another athlete’s foot.
If you have a suspected ankle sprain, you should see a doctor at the first opportunity to ensure proper diagnosis. Don’t try to just ‘walk off’ the injury and ignore it.
You can take an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) to prevent the swelling from getting worse. Common NSAIDS include ibuprofen – such as Advil and Motrin, and naproxen – like Naprosyn. To manage pain immediately, take acetaminophen such as Tylenol. Just make sure to not do so on an empty stomach or exceed the recommended dosage.
After managing the pain, follow American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons’ recommended RICE method to treat the sprain early:
- Rest - Rest your ankle and use crutches till walking is no longer painful without them.
- Ice - Apply an ice pack (or improvise with a pack of frozen peas) for 20-30 minutes at a time. You can ice your ankle 3-4 times for the first couple days or until the swelling goes down.
- Compression - Use an elastic compression wrap (ACE wraps work well) for the first 2-3 days. Don’t apply the wrap too tightly. Signs that it is too tight are numbness, tingling, pain or swelling below the bandage.
- Elevation - Lay on the couch, bed or in the recliner with pillows propping up your leg so your ankle is above the level of your heart. This helps to prevent excess swelling and bruises.
Most ankle sprains will heal on their own if treated properly and the patient completes the exercises prescribed by the physician or physical therapist. Surgery is usually only needed when there are severe tears in the ligament or if a bone is broken. Make an appointment with a sports medicine specialist to evaluate the degree of the ankle sprain and discuss treatment options.
If you want to learn more about ankle sprains, join us on Tuesday, May 27 for a live online chat on “Preventing, Diagnosing & Treating Ankle Sprains” with Emory Orthopaedics, Sports & Spine physician Oluseun Olufade, MD. He will be available to answer questions related to the ankle such as:
- What are the symptoms of an ankle sprain?
- How do you diagnose an ankle sprain?
- How do you treat an ankle sprain?
About Dr. Olufade
Dr. Olufade is board certified in Sports Medicine, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Interventional Pain Medicine. He completed fellowship training in both Interventional Pain Medicine and Sports Medicine. During his fellowship training, he was a team physician for Philadelphia Union, a major league soccer (MLS) team, Widener University Football team and Interboro High School Football team. Dr Olufade is also the team physician for Emory University and Blessed Trinity High School.
Dr. Olufade employs a comprehensive approach in the treatment of sports medicine injuries and spinal disorders by integrating physical therapy, orthotic prescription and minimally invasive procedures. He specializes also in treatment of sports related concussions, tendinopathies and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections. He performs procedures such as fluoroscopic-guided spine injections and ultrasound guided peripheral joint injections. Dr. Olufade individualizes his plan with a focus on functional restoration. Dr. Olufade sees patients at our clinic at Emory Johns Creek Hospital.
Dr Olufade has held many leadership roles including Chief Resident, Vice-President of Resident Physician Council of AAPM&R, President of his medical school class and Editor of the PM&R Newsletter. He has authored multiple book chapters and presented at national conferences.
About Emory Ortho, Sports and Spine in Johns Creek and Duluth
Emory Orthopaedics, Sports & Spine has recently opened two new clinics, one in Johns Creek and one in Duluth. Emory physicians, Kyle Hammond, MD, and Oluseun A. Olufade, MD see patients in Johns Creek. Mathew Pombo, MD and T. Scott Maughon, MD see patients in Duluth. Our new clinic locations care for a full range of orthopedic conditions including: sports medicine, hand/wrist/elbow, foot/ankle, joint replacement, shoulder, knee/hip, concussions, and spine. To schedule an appointment call 404-778-3350.