We are pleased to welcome a new member to our team, Dr. Collin Messerly, a foot and ankle specialist. He will be seeing patients in all four of our Town Center Orthopaedic offices.
It happens in an instant.
One moment you’re walking in the woods, out for a run, playing basketball — then, in a split second, you’re down. You’ve awkwardly twisted your foot or rolled your ankle, and the damage to the ligaments around your ankle joint is done.
Over two million people each year suffer from this sudden accidental injury. An ankle sprain can leave you out of commission for months, so if it happens to you, you’ll want to know how to heal a sprained ankle really fast. We see a lot of sprained ankles at Town Center Orthopaedics, and we can help you get back on your feet as quickly as possible.
When you sprain your ankle, the sudden twisting or rolling of your ankle stretches or tears the ligaments that hold the joint together. Your recovery from a sprained ankle can be improved by taking the following actions:
First, talk to your doctor to make sure that your ankle sprain is actually a sprain and not a more serious injury like a fracture. Your doctor may also want to determine if you have a high or low ankle sprain. The difference is in the ankle sprain’s anatomy: a high ankle sprain tears the ligaments which attach the tibia to the fibula, while a low ankle sprain stretches or tears the ligaments around the ankle joint.
Your doctor will examine your ankle and assign a grade to your injury. Ankle sprains fall into one of three grades depending on their severity:
If your sprain falls into Grade 1, it may cause you some pain and discomfort but should heal without too much issue if you follow instructions, keep your weight off your ankle, and don’t rush your recovery. You may need crutches for a short amount of time.
However, if your sprain falls into Grades 2 or 3, your treatment and recovery will be more complicated. You will probably need a removable plastic device such as a cast boot to provide support for a Grade 2 sprain. Grade 3 sprain treatment may require a short leg cast for 2-3 weeks.
Regardless of the grade, your doctor will recommend taking ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen to reduce pain. Your doctor will also suggest using a treatment plan called R.I.C.E. to decrease swelling and protect the ligaments from further injury. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate.
Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully for the best chance of successful healing. Remember, without proper treatment, your ankle may not heal well. You could lose range of motion and stability, which could result in more sprains and more downtime in the future. Proper foot and ankle care will help your sprain heal more quickly.
Once cleared by your doctor, you can begin physical therapy or exercises to restore function and prevent re-injury. This can help your ankle heal faster than it would on its own. The following exercises (explanations of which can be seen here) will help improve motion, flexibility, strength, and balance.
Ankle range of motion exercises:
Ankle stretching exercises:
Ankle strengthening exercises:
Ankle balance exercises:
Read more about ankle sprains and recovery time here.
If you or a loved one suffer an ankle injury, quick treatment will help get you back on your feet. The professionals at Town Center Orthopaedics are here to help at one of our convenient locations in Ashburn, Centreville, Fairfax, and Reston, VA. Call (571) 307-4980 or request an appointment. We look forward to helping you heal with our state-of-the-art and well-regarded patient-focused care.
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