Approximately 850,000 Americans suffer from ankle sprains every year, according to Right Diagnosis. Unfortunately, this common injury can be quite uncomfortable, limiting your ability to walk, run, move, and go about your daily life. Since sprains are so widespread, everyone seems to have a different remedy for them. One simple but effective solution is to ice your ankle. We speak from experience on this issue—Austin podiatrist, Dr. Jeffery LaMour, and our team frequently assist patients with ankle sprains. In the following blog, we go over the basics of sprains, explain how icing your ankle can help, and describe how we can help you.
What is a Sprain?
Many people refer to any sort of ankle injury as a “sprain”, but this disorder actually has a more specific definition. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ Ortho Info page explains: “an ankle sprain occurs when the strong ligaments [the bands of connective tissue that hold a joint in place] that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits and tear.” Chances are, you’ve suffered a sprain: “Ankle sprains are common injuries that occur among people of all ages. They range from mild to severe, depending upon how much damage there is to the ligaments.”
All sorts of situations can lead to a sprain. You could harm your ankle in this way by tripping, falling, wearing inappropriate shoes, exercising too hard, stumbling, or simply holding your foot at the wrong angle. Any activity that twists your leg or foot could put you at risk for a sprain. Everyone should know the signs of this prevalent condition and learn how to care for their ankles.
You may have suffered a sprain if:
- Trouble putting weight on the affected ankle. This could be slight (a mild limp or discomfort only at certain angles) or severe (a complete inability to engage in everyday activities).
- Inflammation. Your ligaments and other tissue may swell as your body attempts to repair the sprain.
- Discoloration and tenderness due to bruising.
- “Coldness or numbness in your foot” due to reduced blood flow, according to Family Doctor.
- “Stiffness” or loss of mobility, due to the discomfort and the fact that damaged ligaments can limit your range of motion.
If you experience any of the above, we recommend that you come and see Dr. LaMour for treatment.
A Cool Cure
Ice is one of the most widely recommended remedies for sprains, and for good reason. Chilling the tissue can be highly beneficial. This simple treatment can:
- “Keep down the swelling,” according to the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society.
- Numb the injury to decrease discomfort.
- Minimize “muscle spasms,” per Family Doctor.
- Cut down on “bruising.”
The Faster Skier blog describes just why icing can be crucial to healing a sprain: “when the body is hurt…physiological reactions begin to take place automatically. The five most recognizable signs of inflammation are: redness, swelling, loss of function, warmth, and pain. Visualize a large flame coming from the injured body part…Icing is a way to ‘put out the fire’ that is occurring in your body.” It helps alleviate uncomfortable symptoms and limit cell degeneration to keep your tissue in top shape.
However, you should ice your ankle with caution and make sure to cool it properly. Family Doctor points out: “the cold can damage your nerves if you leave ice in place too long. You should only use ice for up to 20 minutes at a time.” Dr. LaMour can provide more information about proper icing protocols at your appointment.
Contact Our Austin Podiatry Practice Today
Have you injured your foot? Dr. LaMour can assist with ankle sprains, fractures, athlete’s foot, and a variety of other podiatric conditions. Contact us today to find out more and schedule an appointment.