When Should I Seek Medical Care For A Sprained Ankle?

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An ankle sprain occurs when a person’s ligaments have been stretched or torn alongside the outside of the ankle. Up to 80% of all ankle sprains are due to an inward rolling of the ankle. Other sprains are caused by outward rolling.

The ligaments and tendons of the ankle become more vulnerable to injury when the toes are placed toward the ground and the heel is pointed upward. Severe pain in the inside of the ankle after a sprain may be a sign of serious damage to the ligaments.

Therefore, it’s important to seek medical attention at your local urgent care locations should you experience excess swelling or if you’re unable to place your weight on your foot.

How to treat a sprained ankle

Whether or not you experience pain when placing weight on your foot or ankle, it’s necessary to treat your sprained ankle to avoid further complications. For a typical, minor ankle sprain you can treat the injury by following the guidelines of R.I.C.E. below:

  • Rest. As with any injury, it’s important to rest the muscles of the injured area in order to prevent further damage caused by strain or overuse. Reduce the amount of weight you place on the ankle and consider using an ankle brace.
  • Ice. Ice helps to reduce the swelling and inflammation in the area of the injury. This allows for the blood to travel more easily in and out of the ankle. It also enables lymph fluid to reach the damaged ligaments in order to provide necessary nutrients for more rapid healing. However, don’t place the ice directly onto your skin and only apply the ice for 20 minutes at a time.
  • Compression. Ice works tremendously well for a sprained ankle, but cold compression definitely helps. Compression reduces the swelling in your ankle and also helps to support your ligaments.
  • Elevate. Elevating your ankle by keeping the injury above your waist or heart helps to keep the blood from becoming trapped and increasing the swelling.

When does your ankle sprain require a visit to urgent care locations?

The majority of ankle sprains aren’t serious, but there’s always a chance of experiencing a Grade II or III sprain. These types of sprains suggest more extensive damage to the ligaments or tendons in the ankle than the traditional minor sprain and should be treated immediately at one of your local urgent care locations.

In the event of a Grade II sprain, a doctor in an urgent care clinic may immobilize your ankle or provide a splint in order to keep the injury from worsening. In the event of a Grade III sprain, doctors at your urgent care facility may recommend surgery or treating your ankle with a short leg cast for a series of weeks.

Consult a doctor immediately if you believe you’ve sustained a Grade II or Grade III ankle sprain. Without urgent medical care, you could suffer from further ligament damage.