We use our feet and ankles for almost everything, from getting up in the morning to walking to the bus stop. For this reason, ankle injuries can be so frustrating and stressful, even though they are very common and happen to millions of people every year. By visiting a foot and ankle specialist in Victoria, Kelowna, or Nanaimo, you can find out more about your problem and what kind of treatment is best for you.
But how can you know whether your injury is serious enough to see a doctor? Although most ankle sprains heal on their own, severe symptoms could indicate an Achilles rupture or even a broken bone. When you get in touch with your specialist, you can prevent further issues and find out how to speed up the recovery process. Let’s examine ankle injuries in more detail, so you can judge whether you should give us a call at Island Foot Clinics.
Is My Ankle Injury Serious?
Injuring your ankle is always a nuisance, particularly if you are active and used to doing a lot of walking or running. Fortunately, most types of ankle sprains are not very serious, and you have a good chance of fully recovering in just a few weeks. To do so, you’ll have to rest your leg and ice it on a regular basis, then ease back into exercise gradually.
Some people face a more serious issue, such as a stubborn sprained ankle that doesn’t get better, an Achilles rupture, or even broken bones in the ankle joint. Such injuries are usually more painful, last for a longer time, and cause a great deal of bruising and swelling. They require a consultation with a foot specialist, so you shouldn’t delay seeing your local doctor and having your ankle examined.
Severe Pain and Symptoms
When you get a mild ankle sprain, your joint may hurt a lot, but the pain won’t be unbearable. By contrast, a tendon rupture or a broken bone will usually hurt more, and you may be unable to stand up or put any pressure on your leg. Any very severe symptoms are usually a sign that your injury is serious and should be looked at by a doctor as soon as possible.
Another telltale sign of a significant problem is a popping or snapping sound at the time of the injury, which usually happens when the Achilles tendon ruptures. In such a case, you might be unable to stand on tiptoe and push off your leg when walking. The best course of action is to get professional help right away, since leaving such an injury untreated can lead to complications that delay healing.
The Duration of Symptoms
If your symptoms aren’t very severe at first, you might believe that you can simply use the RICE (rest, ice, compress, elevate) method to heal your ankle sprain. This works in many cases, and the pain should start to disappear in a few weeks or months. Remember that tendons and ligaments have less blood flow than muscles, so you can’t expect your ankle to be completely well within two weeks.
However, it should be improving steadily, especially if you take good care to keep your weight off it. If you notice that you still feel the same amount of pain several weeks after your initial injury, you should definitely see a specialist to find out what is going on. They can do imaging studies, then let you know about the best treatment for your injury.
Bruising, Pain, and Swelling
A certain amount of pain, bruising, and swelling is normal right after an incident involving your ankle. Over a week or two, these three symptoms should lessen significantly. People who notice that their ankle is still very large and bruised even after resting it for a while should take further action. You could have underestimated the severity of your injury, so it’s crucial that you get it treated and prevent long-term health issues.
How Doctors Classify Ankle Injuries
Most specialists use a classification system to speak about ankle injuries. There are three different grades, and the advice for each one will be different. A Grade 1 ankle sprain involves a stretching of the ligament, which isn’t very serious and should heal on its own within a few days. Patients with this issue will be told to rest and recover without further intervention. A Grade 2 sprain is a bit more serious because the ligament is partially torn.
This can also heal, but it will take much longer to do so, and the patient might experience bruising at the site of the injury. In certain cases, medical attention could be beneficial. The worst injuries are classified as Grade 3 ankle sprains, and they describe a rupture of the tendon. You will almost certainly need medical attention if you’ve injured your ankle in this way, and your doctor will tell you the best interventions for your situation.
What Can I Do to Get Better Faster?
The feet and ankles are crucial to our function, so you’ll be itching to get back to normal after an injury. There are several things you can do to make sure you’re back on your feet as soon as possible and that there is no long-term damage. In addition to the traditional RICE method, you might want to protect your ankle with a boot. Your foot and ankle specialist in Victoria, Kelowna, or Nanaimo will be able to tell you more.
Rest, Ice, Elevate, and Compress Your Foot
The RICE method is a tried and tested way of helping injured tissues to improve faster. By keeping off your foot, you can give it a chance to heal without being stressed and potentially injured again.
Icing and compressing the tissue helps the blood to flow better so that more healing agents are delivered to the injured site. Elevation drains the excess fluid, which can make the swelling go down faster. If you do all four, you can benefit from fewer symptoms and a shorter healing period.
Protect Your Ankle with a Boot
A boot can be a great option for more serious injuries because it prevents you from bending the foot more than you should. You’ll be able to stand and walk without putting undue pressure on your injury. That way, it can heal while you go about your daily life. Your doctor will let you know whether this is a suitable intervention and what kind of boot or brace you should buy.
Contact Your Foot and Ankle Specialist in Victoria, Kelowna, or Nanaimo
Now that you know the signs and symptoms of a severe ankle injury, you’ll be able to judge better whether you need medical intervention. If you’re in doubt, it’s better to be safe than sorry, so don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can give Island Foot Clinics a call, and one of our team members can go through your symptoms with you to determine whether you need an appointment with a doctor.
Ankle injuries are never pleasant, but they can usually be treated easily by a qualified foot and ankle specialist. Call us today at Island Foot Clinics in Victoria, Kelowna, or Nanaimo to find out more. We will be happy to book you in for a consultation, so your doctor can perform imaging studies and see what is going on in your ankle joint.