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When to Worry About a Sprained Ankle

When to Worry About a Sprained Ankle

Sprained ankles are among the most common injuries — around 25,000 people twist, roll, and tweak their ankles every day. 

If that day has come for you, you’re in the right place. 

Some ankle sprains respond well to rest and time, but others are more severe and need medical attention. Which category are you in?

That’s the question our Prime Choice Family Clinic & Urgent Care team in Frisco, Texas, is here to answer. 

Understanding a sprain

A sprained ankle is different from a fracture that affects your bones or muscles. Ankle sprains occur when you roll, twist, and otherwise turn your ankle awkwardly in such a way that the ligaments holding your ankle bones together stretch or tear. 

Your ligaments prevent excessive movement, but sudden twists and turns can force your ankle beyond its normal range of motion. 

Athletes playing high-impact sports and making frequent stops are most at risk for an ankle sprain, but it can happen to virtually anyone. For instance, many of our non-athlete patients have sprained their ankles simply by stepping on an uneven sidewalk. 

Knowing when to get help

Ankle sprains come in degrees, and treatment varies dramatically. Mild sprains are painful and often swell, but they tend to heal quickly if you rest for a few days and use a cold compress. More severe ankle sprains will trigger:

We never recommend ignoring a sprained ankle, even if you think it’s an injury that will heal on its own. Even the slightest tear — if not managed properly — can turn into chronic instability or arthritis later in life. 

So, if you’re asking whether or not you should see us for an ankle sprain, the answer is a resounding yes. 

Self-care measures may be all that your ankle needs to recover, but you still need a medical evaluation to make sure. 

Depending on how severely you’ve torn the ligament, we may recommend that in addition to self-care, you see a physical or occupational therapist, use a walker or cane to get around, and/or take prescription medication to manage symptoms. 

If you’re an athlete, we also work with your coaches and athletic trainers to help you return to play as quickly and safely as possible. 

Preventing ankle sprains

If you’ve never had an ankle sprain before, count yourself as one of the lucky ones (and heed our advice below). If this is your first (or second or third) sprained ankle, it’s time to get serious about prevention. 

To keep your ankle stable and sprain-free, we recommend:

Above all else, you should focus on strengthening the muscles surrounding your ankle and supporting your legs. The stronger your muscles are, the more force your ankle can withstand. 

If you’ve recently hurt your ankle, don’t wait another moment. Call 214-550-0911 or book an appointment online at Prime Choice Family Clinic & Urgent Care to get the help you need today. 

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