Hurt Your Ankle? Here’s What You Should Do

A social misstep can be embarrassing, but the physical type can mean a painful sprain. Whether it’s a twist of the wrist or an ankle sprain, you’re derailed in what you can do, and it’s frustrating.

When you injure an ankle, there are steps you can take at home to lessen your pain, but it’s also smart to get it checked out by a pro.

Dr. Laura Schweger and the team at Optima Foot and Ankle have seen every ankle injury in the book, but for many of these issues, a combination of home treatment and a visit to our office is the best approach you can take.

We’re ready to diagnose and treat your ankle injury — and any other foot or ankle problem you might be experiencing — using the most advanced treatments and a warm and caring hands-on approach.

Differentiating between an ankle sprain and a strain

We know you lead an active life, whether you run in marathons or power walk with your dog each day. We also treat injuries resulting from around-the-house life; you can hurt your ankle cleaning the house, gardening, or playing with your child.

Not all ankle injuries are created equal, however, so it’s important to know that the specifics surrounding your injury are important, like how it occured, exactly where the damage and pain are, and what they could indicate.

First, it’s useful to know the differences between muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Essentially, muscles are made of flexible tissue that can contract. They allow you to move and your organs to function — you have over 600 muscles, after all.

Tendons are made of fibrous connective tissue, and so are ligaments, but tendons connect muscles to bones, while ligaments attach one bone to another. Also, tendons enable movement, and ligaments provide support and stability.

If you strain your ankle, it’s because your muscle or the tissue band that connects your muscle to your bone sustains an injury. An ankle sprain, however, happens when the bands of tissue that connect your bones together are damaged.

How to treat ankle strains and sprains

Once you’ve injured your ankle, you’re likely not thinking about whether it’s a strain or a sprain. You just know it hurts, and when you injured it, you may have felt immediate, sharp pain, heard a pop, or had trouble putting weight on your ankle.

Follow-up symptoms might include bruising, redness, swelling, and skin that is warm to the touch.

Fortunately, you can take self-care steps, which are the same for sprains and strains. Doing these at home can provide relief from pain until you can schedule a visit with Dr. Schweger. Start with what we call RICE therapy:

  • Rest your ankle
  • Ice the painful area
  • Compress your injured area with something like an ACE™ bandage
  • Elevate your ankle on an ottoman or pillows

Rest keeps your ankle free of any additional stress; ice and compression prevent the swelling from worsening, and elevating the ankle above the level of your heart can lessen pain and swelling.

You may also want to complement your RICE treatment with an over-the-counter pain medication; wearing supportive, comfortable footwear; and limiting your physical activity. This is not the time to try to push through the pain and stick with your normal daily movements.

A visit to the podiatrist’s office is advised after an ankle injury

We hope your home treatments do the trick, but if they don’t, it’s time to come see Dr. Schweger. In fact, even if you’re improving, it’s a good idea to get your ankle checked out.

Dr. Schweger examines your injury and may advise imaging tests. She might also recommend a course of physical therapy, or she could treat you with an innovative low-level laser therapy  called FX-635®, a completely noninvasive, FDA-approved treatment developed by Erchonia that addresses inflammation and reduces pain.

SInce it’s a regenerative treatment, FX-635 actually stimulates your muscles, ligaments, and nerves, provoking a healing response in your body. No anesthesia is necessary when you get FX-635 treatments. Because this modality relieves inflammation, your pain disappears.

Depending on your injury and its severity, Dr. Schweger might advise a surgical solution, but as always, she walks you through your options and exactly what will happen, and she’s ready to answer any questions you have.

She also often employs FX-635 treatments to help with discomfort before and after your procedure.

Resolve your ankle pain and get back in the swing of things

We want you pain-free and living your normal life ASAP after an ankle injury. Call our office in Bend, Oregon, at 541-383-3668 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Schweger, or request an appointment online. You can also send a message to Dr. Schweger and the team here on our website.

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