Every day in the United States, an estimated 28,000 people sprain their ankles. Although your ankle is designed to bear your full body weight, its range of motion can limit certain moves. When you put too much pressure on the joint, this can cause the tissues holding it in place to tear, leading to an ankle sprain. While this isn’t always serious, many sprained ankles need to be treated by a doctor to prevent long-term mobility issues and pain.
A Sprained Ankle Can Be a Serious Injury
Despite getting a lot of passes as temporary pain, a sprained ankle can be serious. Even mild cases need proper care to avoid future problems or worsening the injury.
There are three grades of ankle sprains:
- Grade I – Mild, can be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) method.
- Grade II – Moderate, requires medical care and may worsen without treatment.
- Grade III – Severe, typically requires surgery and physical therapy.
While grade I ankle sprains do not tear the ligament, grade II involves partial tearing, and grade III means the ligament has torn completely. Because ankle sprains can worsen without care, it is important to seek medical attention, especially if you cannot bear weight on your ankle or experience significant pain.
Treatment Options for Ankle Sprains
A mild sprain generally leaves the ankle and foot area tender and painful to put pressure on. The RICE method can be an effective treatment. These sprains usually heal on their own within three weeks.
A moderate to severe sprain is more serious. It typically requires significant rest, staying off the foot or crutches, and a month or two of healing under monitored treatment before active use. This is usually due to a partial tear of a ligament.
An extreme sprain involves a torn ligament and separation, usually requiring surgery to repair.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your doctor may test how much weight you can bear on the ankle and your range of motion to determine the severity of your sprain. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is also highly common as it can help the doctor determine the effects of a sprain on the ligaments.
Do You Need Urgent Care for a Sprained Ankle?
At Go To Ortho, we specialize in emergency orthopedic treatment for sprains, strains, fractures, and more. Our highly skilled team includes trauma surgeons and orthopedic specialists who are board-certified and deeply experienced in all levels of orthopedic care.
We accept walk-ins for all cases in Beaverton and Lake Oswego, OR! If you would like to call or schedule an appointment, you can reach us at 503.850.9950 or send us a message.