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Orthopedic Specialists -  - Orthopedic Surgeon

Orthopedic Specialists

Orthopedic Surgeons located in Palm Harbor, FL

Ankle Sprain Q & A

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What exactly is an ankle sprain? 

Ankle sprains are one of the most common orthopedic injuries.  They occur when the ankle’s strong, supportive ligaments are stretched beyond their limits and tear.  Most commonly, the ankle rolls outward due to a fall. 

How is an ankle sprain diagnosed?

Pain, swelling, and an inability to bear weight are the most common symptoms. Diagnostic x-rays may determine whether a bone is broken or whether tendons alone are affected.  Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is rarely needed unless 6 to 8 weeks of conservative treatment are not producing results.

How is ankle sprain treated?

The sprain’s severity determines the recovery time. Most ankle sprains can be treated without surgery.  Treatment consists of rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE).  Anti-inflammatory medications can help decrease pain, and a physical therapy exercise plan can expedite recovery and a return to normal activities. 

 It is particularly important to prevent multiple sprains for two reasons: 

  • Torn ligaments that fail to heal can lead to a condition called chronic lateral ankle instability (CLAI)
  • Multiple sprains can also damage the cartilage within the ankle joint, leading to arthritis 

Does a sprained ankle ever need surgery? 

Surgery is reserved for ankle sprains that fail to heal with conservative management.  In these cases, the ankle may be treated with minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to evaluate and treat cartilage injuries inside the joint.  The damaged ligaments can be tightened and reinforced to restore ankle stability.

The board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeons at Orthopedic Specialists have deep expertise in treating all foot and ankle bone conditions.  Call today or schedule an appointment online.

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