Ankle Sprains and How Best to Treat Them

Injury Prevention

By Andrew Pao, MD ONS Foot and Ankle Specialist

Ankle sprains are common injuries that can occur when the ankle twists, turns or rolls in an awkward manner. An ankle sprain refers to the tearing of one or more ligaments within the ankle. The most common ankle sprain occurs on the lateral (outside) part of the ankle. There’s a good chance you may have sprained your ankle at some point while playing sports or stepping on an uneven surface — it is estimated that about 25,000 people sprain their ankle every day!

Most ankle sprains are treated conservatively, and the vast majority will heal with time. Consulting your orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon and having a thorough examination will allow your physician to come up with a customized treatment plan with regards to your goals, activities, and expectations. Surgery is not required for the vast majority of ankle sprains.

Normally, a period of rest, ice, compression and elevation is recommended after the sprain occurs to reduce the acute inflammation and swelling. Anti-inflammatory medication, activity modification and a boot or brace can also help with ambulation. Depending on the level of discomfort, crutches may be recommended as well. Afterwards, home exercises and therapy are typically initiated, and while full recovery time can vary, most patients get back to activities with minimal limitations. It is important to complete the rehabilitation program, as it lessens the likelihood of a recurrent sprain. Those who have had a history of ankle sprains may have an easier time turning their ankle and sustaining a new injury.

A high ankle sprain refers to an injury of the ligaments that connect the tibia to the fibula, or the syndesmosis. These sprains are much less common and may require a longer recovery period.

About Dr. Andrew Pao
Andrew Pao, MD is a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon who specializes in operative and non-operative care of a variety of foot and ankle conditions. His expertise includes treatment for arthritis of the foot and ankle; sports and cartilage injuries; trauma and fracture management of the lower extremity; bunions and forefoot pain; ankle arthroscopy; adolescent foot and ankle conditions; deformity correction; and reconstruction / revision surgery of the foot and ankle.

To schedule an appointment, please call (203) 869-1145 or click Schedule Appointment today.