Foot and Ankle Care You May Need After an Ankle Sprain

8 March 2022
 Categories: , Blog


An ankle sprain is when a ligament in your ankle joint is stretched to the point where it tears. The tears might be microscopic, moderate, or the ligament might tear completely apart. A sprain is graded according to how severe the tear is. The more severe the tear, the worse your symptoms will be. Here's a look at the foot and ankle care that might be needed for the three types of ankle sprains.

Grade 1 - Requires Rest and Ice

A Grade 1 sprain is when the ligament is only stretched or when it has microscopic tears. You'll have some pain, mild swelling, and light bruising. These sprains can often be treated at home by using ice to control pain and swelling and by taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication if you need it.

You'll also need to stay off the foot and elevate it to help reduce swelling. It also helps to wrap your ankle with compression tape, and that's one reason you may want to see a podiatrist for treatment.

Grade 2 - May Require A Boot For Stabilization

This type of sprain has a ligament with a partial tear. You'll have more pain and swelling. Bruising will be more pronounced too. You might even notice your ankle has lost some of its stability, so you shouldn't walk on it until you've seen a podiatrist.

You'll need more complex foot and ankle care when you have a sprain like this. Your podiatrist may want to immobilize your ankle with a boot, and you may need to use crutches. You may also be advised to use ice, rest, and foot elevation to control swelling. It will take longer to heal from this moderate sprain than it does a mild injury.

Grade 3 - May Require A Cast Or Surgery

This is the most severe type of strain. Your podiatrist may want to take imaging scans of your ankle to verify you don't have a fracture and to see if the ligament is completely torn. You will probably be in a lot of pain and have a lot of swelling and bruising. Your ankle joint may be very unstable, so your podiatrist might want to put a cast on your ankle to support the joint.

In some cases, it might be necessary to have surgery to repair the torn ligament. Also, Grades 2 and 3 sprains may need to undergo physical therapy. This is important for strengthening muscles weakened by being in a cast or boot. Physical therapy exercises help you regain your balance and range of motion.

Proper foot and ankle care after a sprain is important so you don't develop a chronic problem with your ankle joint. Be sure to follow your podiatrist's instructions so your ankle heals properly and don't resume your usual activities too soon.