If running and competing in marathons is a fun hobby for you, you know how important it is to take good care of your feet and ankles. One injury you probably dread is an ankle sprain. If you land on a rock and your foot rolls as you land, it can damage the tissues and bones in your ankle and keep you from running for weeks or months. A sprain should be treated properly or you are more susceptible to future sprains. Here are some treatments your podiatrist might suggest.
Ice To Relieve Swelling
You want to apply ice as soon as you can after the injury occurs. This reduces swelling and bleeding. Your ankle could swell and turn purple from the bleeding if you have a very bad sprain. Ice helps slow this process and by reducing inflammation it can also help reduce pain. Avoid using heat on a fresh injury as this increases blood circulation and can make swelling and bruising worse.
Get An Evaluation
If you run a lot, it's a good idea to get a medical evaluation of a sprained ankle. That's because the injury may be worse than you think and if your ankle is in a weak condition, it could be injured even worse when you resume running. A podiatrist will examine your ankle and take a history of the injury to determine which ligament, tendon, or bones are affected. He or she may order imaging tests to get an inside view of the structures of your ankle. If your ankle is swollen, purple, and too painful to stand on, it seems logical to seek medical help, but even if the injury seems minor to you, you should also get an evaluation so the podiatrist can prescribe the best treatment to get you running safely as quickly as possible.
Your ankle may be too painful to bear weight right away, but gentle exercises can actually help reduce inflammation and pain. The exercises you do depend on the type of injury you have. If bones are broken too, you may need to wear a cast, splint, or air boot to keep your foot immobile. If the injury is to tissues in your ankle, then you may wear a removable cast so you can take it off for periods of exercise. Your podiatrist may send you to a physical therapist to learn the correct stretching and strengthening exercises to do under supervision and at home on your own. Just hold off on running until you get approval from your doctor or therapist. Movement is so helpful to healing that if you are unable to bear weight and exercise on your own, your podiatrist might order a passive motion machine that exercises your lower leg for you.
Ankle sprains generally heal well with proper treatment so you can be running in a matter of days or weeks. However, very severe sprains may require surgery. The surgery may be needed to mend bones or anchor ligaments. Surgery can keep you sidelined for a long time. That's one reason you want to avoid it if possible by looking after the health of your feet and ankles by getting proper treatment for even minor injuries.
For more information, talk to a professional like Affiliated Ankle & Foot Care Center.