Ankle sprains are one of the most common types of injuries, with tens of thousands of people spraining their ankle in the US every day. Sprains are unique to the individual and can vary in severity, meaning sometimes they can be managed at home while other times professional treatment is recommended.

But how can you know if you’d benefit from a consultation with an orthopedic specialist for your ankle sprain? In today’s blog, we take a look at five symptoms that suggest your ankle sprain needs professional treatment.

Should I Visit A Foot Specialist For My Ankle Sprain?

You’re probably aware of some of the more obvious signs that you should seek professional treatment after an ankle sprain, like if you’re unable to put weight on the foot or you’re in extreme pain, but what are some of the less obvious signs that suggest the same thing? If you’re dealing with any of these five symptoms, consider setting up an appointment with Dr. McDonald or an orthopedic specialist in your area.

  1. Pain Not Getting Better Or Worsening – Most ankle sprains are their most painful in the immediate aftermath of the sprain. After it swells and you give it some rest, the foot tends to feel a little bit better, and oftentimes you can start to tolerate more movement and pressure after 24-48 hours. However, if discomfort levels and function aren’t improving after 48 hours, or if pain is actually getting worse when you try to put pressure on the area, it’s a sign that you’ll want to have a doctor take a closer look at your foot.
  2. Repeated Sprains – You might think that your ankle is back to normal following an initial sprain, but if you find that you’re rolling your ankle more frequently or suffering more ankle sprains when you’re active, it’s a sign that you have loose or damaged supportive ankle ligaments. If you don’t work to strengthen these ankle ligaments after an initial injury, you may be at a greater risk for subsequent sprains, and this can be even more severe than the first sprain. If you’re rolling your ankle more frequently, have a doctor examine the ankle to see if you’re still dealing with lingering damage from an initial sprain.
  3. Loss Of Confidence – If you’re no longer in pain from your original ankle sprain, but you just don’t have the confidence in your ankle like you once did, it would pay to visit an orthopedic specialist. They can help to determine if loose ankle ligaments are causing you to be inherently cautious with your ankle, and odds are this hesitancy is placing extra stress on other areas of your body, which could increase your overall injury risk. Regain trust and confidence in your ankle by talking with a foot and ankle specialist.
  4. Altered Gait – If an ankle sprain is causing you to walk with a limb or a hitch in your step, it may be in your best interest to visit with a specialist. It’s not uncommon for an ankle sprain to affect our walking pattern for a couple days, but if you’re still dealing with a limp after a week or so, talk with a specialist so that you can find a way to get back to a normal walking pattern that isn’t overstressing your uninjured leg.
  5. Prolonged Swelling – As we mentioned in the introduction, swelling is part of your body’s natural response to stress, but if there is significant or prolonged swelling in your ankle after a sprain, it can inhibit normal healing. A doctor can help provide some recommendations for promoting fluid movement out of the area so that healthy blood can reach the injury site and promote healing. If swelling is still making the area uncomfortable after 48 hours, set up a consultation with a specialist.

Dr. McDonald and his team have been helping patients overcome all different types of ankle sprains, and we can help get you back on your feet following your sprain. For more information or for help with your foot or ankle condition, reach out to his office today at (860) 244-8889.

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