Whether you’ve finished a long run or took a tumble on the field, it’s normal to feel a little sore after engaging in physical activity. But if your ankle feels uncomfortable, you shouldn’t necessarily write it off as run-of-the-mill athletic fatigue. In some cases, moving the foot in an unusual manner can stretch or tear the ligaments that support the ankle, causing a sprain. Since this injury can lead to chronic pain and joint instability in the foot, you should seek proper treatment if you notice any warning signs of an ankle sprain.
Common Warning Signs of an Ankle Sprain
1. Popping Sound
If an ankle sprain is severe, you might not just feel the tissue tear—you might also hear it pop. Since this sound can indicate significant damage, it’s best to avoid walking on the injured foot right away. To minimize further damage, rest and elevate the ankle.
2. Sudden & Persistent Pain
Ankle sprain pain usually sets in as soon as the injury occurs. While the discomfort may fade, it will continue to hurt—especially when you try to walk on the injured foot or touch the affected ankle. Rest, icing, compressing, and elevating the ankle are all ways you can ease nerve activity and, in turn, reduce pain symptoms. You might also benefit from taking a recommended dose of anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
Blood vessel damage can cause fluids to leak around the injured tissue, causing the ankle to swell. To help the swelling go down, apply ice to the ankle, followed with compression and elevation.
When the sprain occurs, blood vessels may tear and cause localized bleeding that bruises the ankle. Although the bruise mark will take time to fade, you can speed up the process by icing the area for about 15 minutes to reduce blood flow.
As your ankle heals, you will likely feel tenderness and stiffness whenever you walk on the affected foot. In the hours and days after the initial injury, staying off your ankle as much as possible will help boost the healing process and reduce stiffness. If necessary, you may need to see a podiatrist to explore physical therapy and stretching exercises that strengthen your ankle and enhance flexibility.
If you believe you have an ankle sprain or another foot problem, Choice Podiatry Associates is here to treat the injury with convenience and compassion. Based in Cincinnati, OH, this foot care clinic will use advanced tools to detect the extent of your injury and craft a personalized recovery plan. To learn more, visit the podiatrists online. For appointments, call (513) 574-2424 to reach the Monford Heights South location, (513) 984-1911 for the Kenwood practice, or (513) 563-2225 to speak with the Wyoming team.