How to Tell If Your Ankle Sprain Requires a Visit to Your Orthopedic Surgeon

A sprained ankle can occur almost anywhere, at any time. Whether you step off a curb wrong or twist your ankle on the playing field. The degrees of sprains are almost as varied as those who sustain them. You could experience a minor tear that heals quickly or a more significant rupture that hobbles you for months.

At our orthopedic practice, Dr. Chris Boone and our team help patients overcome sprained ankles. We also work to prevent sprains from happening again. 

Did you know many sprained ankles reoccur? It's because a lasting instability in the joint makes people more susceptible to re-injury. If you think you have a sprained ankle, don’t wait to schedule an appointment.

Immediate steps

If you suspect you’ve sprained your ankle because of pain and swelling, follow the RICE method:

You should apply the RICE method for the first 24 hours to minimize your pain and swelling. If, after this time, your ankle is still the same, or worse, it’s time to see us. 

Using advanced imaging, we can take a look at what’s going on inside your ankle to determine the best course of action.

Next steps

If we find you’ve badly torn a ligament in your ankle, our first goal is to stabilize your joints. If you have a significant tear in one of your ligaments, it’s important that we take the pressure off that area. To do this, we may turn to a non-weight-bearing solution like crutches or place you in a walking boot that allows mobility while keeping your ankle secure.

The reason why it’s important to exercise caution with a sprained ankle is the high incidence of complications down the road, such as chronic ankle instability and arthritis. 

Expert care on the front end of a sprained ankle can save you from a lifetime of potential problems with the joint.

Surgical steps

It’s not often we turn to surgery for a sprained ankle, but it does happen. For example, if you’re an athlete who incurred an acute, and severe, sprain, orthopedic surgery may help you get back to your sport quicker. 

More often, we perform orthopedic surgery to stabilize an ankle that keeps getting re-injured. If you stretched your ligaments to the point of tearing and they don’t heal properly, you may be left with an ankle that's unable to keep up with your active life.

In these cases, we typically turn to a modified Brostrom procedure to tighten your lateral ankle ligaments. To do this, Dr. Boone separates these ligaments from your fibula and resecures them. As an expert in arthroscopy, Dr. Boone may rely on these minimally invasive surgical techniques to repair your ankle.

If you’re on the fence about whether you may need specialized orthopedic help for your ankle sprain, we urge you to err on the side of caution. Give us a call at (425) 214-4353 or request an appointment on our website.

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