No one plans to sprain his or her ankle, but it’s a very common injury that can range from mild to severe. Not surprisingly, it’s also one of the most common sports injuries, with approximately 2 million cases each year. Other common activities that may lead to a sprained ankle include hiking over uneven terrain and running. It’s not the running itself that can cause the injury, but a sprain could result from overuse.
Many people who sprain their ankle don’t seek medical assistance. While minor sprains can heal on their own with regular rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE), more severe sprains require medical attention.
When to see a doctor for a sprained ankle
At-home RICE treatment is best for sprains that just feel twisted or tweaked, but if you’re unable to put weight on your ankle you’re likely dealing with a more serious sprain. If you have one or more of these severe signs or symptoms, then it’s time to seek urgent medical treatment:
- You have swelling that is tender to the touch.
- You have bruising around the ankle or foot.
- You have a restricted range of motion.
- You have pain and are unable to bear weight on the affected foot.
- You noticed a popping sensation or sound at the time of the injury.
When you can treat your sprained ankle at home
Let’s look at a few common signs and symptoms of a mild ankle sprain that you can most likely treat at home. If you think you have a mild sprain, but it doesn’t get better within a week or two, then it’s time to seek medical treatment. Here are signs of a mild sprained ankle:
- Your ankle is tender to the touch.
- You have swelling in the ankle that worsens throughout the day.
- You have ankle stiffness that is worse in the morning.
- Your ankle feels stable when you stand in place.
- You are able to bear weight and walk with little pain.
Call your doctor or visit Emerald Coast Urgent if you have pain and you suspect an ankle sprain. If signs and symptoms are severe and you are unable to put weight on your ankle, you may have significant damage. It’s important to seek urgent care to avoid further complications from a torn ligament, bone fracture or broken bone. We are open seven days a week for walk-in appointments.