Falling temps mean icy sidewalks and steps and a higher risk of twisting your ankle. A sprain occurs when there is damage to one or more of the ligaments in your ankle (as opposed to a strain, which is damage to the muscles). The ligaments are bands of tissue that connect bones and joints to each other and, in the ankle; they provide stability when you walk by limiting the side to side movement of the ankle.
When you slip or miss a step going down the stairs, that sudden twisting of the ankle can force the ankle joint out of position and stretch the ligaments beyond their normal range, resulting in a sprain. In severe sprains, the ligaments may be partially or completely torn. At Paul S. DeMarco, DPM, we frequently see ankle sprains that occur while participating in sports but also when a patient is running on an uneven surface or wearing shoes that don’t provide appropriate ankle support. Past ankle sprains can weaken your ankle and make it more likely that you will sprain it again in the future.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
How do you know if you sprained your ankle? Some common symptoms include: pain or soreness, swelling, stiffness in the joint, bruising and difficulty walking. Being able to walk and bear weight on your ankle, however, does not mean that it is not sprained. That’s why if you are experiencing any symptoms or discomfort—even just a sense that your ankle feels weak or wobbly-- after a fall or other incident where your ankle was twisted you should come in and have it evaluated by our board certified foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco.
If you suspect an ankle sprain, the foot doctor will ask questions about how you injured your foot and the symptoms you have been experiencing. Most likely, x-rays (which can be done right in our Somers Point office) or other imaging studies will be ordered to get a more accurate picture of your injury and also to rule out fractures or other possible causes of your ankle discomfort.
The most common course of treatment for an ankle sprain starts with the RICE regimen, which you can begin at home until the time of your appointment:
The foot doctor will determine when you can start physical therapy, which will help strengthen your ankle and get you back to your normal activity level. The sooner you start treatment the better the healing process will go. So, don’t delay, if you think you’ve sprained your ankle, call for an appointment at Paul S. DeMarco, DPM as soon as possible.