The Trainer’s Room: Sprained Ankle Treatment, Rehab, and Recovery Time

Upper Abdominal Muscle Strains | Lower Abdominal Muscle Strains - Treatment, Symptoms, Prevention(The Trainer’s Room is a regular column at Midwest Sports Fans by Denver chiropractors Dr. Niall McNally and Dr. Ihsan Erhuy, the pain and rehabilitation experts at the Mountain View Pain Center in Denver, CO.

All treatment options provided in this article should not be taken as specific advice, but rather as a general guide regarding what is typically done to treat the injury being described.

You should always consult your doctor before beginning any pain management or rehab program.)

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Ankle Sprains

For this article we will discuss one the most common sports related injuries, the ankle sprain. This type of injury can happen in all sports, to any player, and makes any activity nearly impossible until the pain is gone and the ankle heals.

Inversion injuries, or acute lateral ligament sprains, are the most common form of sporting injury, accounting for 40% of all injuries and up to 85% of ankle sprains, which in themselves are responsible for over 15% of all time lost from sport.

The injury occurs when the athlete lands with the foot plantar flexed and slightly inverted. This position unlocks the joint. What this means is simply rolling your ankle.

sprained ankle treatment, rehab, recovery time - ankle sprains, ligaments - plantar flexion and inversion sprain

Plantar flexion inversion sprain

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Sprained Ankle: The Ligaments, Ankle Sprain Grades, and Recovery Time

The lateral (outside) ankle ligaments are: the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL), and the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL). The medial (inside) ankle ligaments are the deep and superficial portions of the deltoid ligament.

The most commonly sprained ankle ligament is the ATFL, followed by the CFL. An isolated CFL tear is rare, and is almost always preceded by a tear of the ATFL. These injuries are caused by running on uneven terrain, stepping in a hole, stepping on another athlete’s foot during play, or landing from a jump in an unbalanced position.

A syndesmotic ankle sprain, or high ankle sprain, occurs as a result of forced external rotation of the foot or during internal rotation of the tibia on a fixed, planted foot. A common mechanism is a direct blow to the back of the ankle while the foot is externally rotated.

Classification of lateral ligamentous injuries is variable. Injuries are described as primary, secondary, or tertiary, or grade 1, 2, or 3, in order of increasing severity, as illustrated in the ankle sprain grade chart below. The grading of ankle sprains helps to guide treatment, rehabilitation, and prognosis. The ankle sprain grade is based on the number of ligaments injured, degree of ligament tearing (partial vs. complete tear), and amount of swelling and ecchymosis (bruising).

West Point Ankle Spain Grading System

  Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3
Edems/Ecchymosis (Bruising) Localized/Slight Localized/Moderate Diffuse/Significant
Weight Bearing Ability Full or Partial Without Significant Pain Difficult Without Crutches Impossible Significant Pain
Ligament Pathology (ligament damage) Ligament Stretch Partial Tear Complete Tear
Return to Sporting Activities (recovery time) 11 days 2-6 weeks 4-26 weeks

Please note this chart provides only a rough estimate of sprain ankle recovery time. Other factors must be weighed in such as previous injuries, age, weight, health status, and your sprained ankle treatment plan to give a more exact prognosis of recovery.

Two easy tests to determine when your previously sprained ankle is stable enough to get back in the game are to stand on the ankle in question for one minute with eyes closed, or jump up and down ten times in a row. If you can perform these without pain then you should be ready for action. However, even if you can perform these tests, your ankle may still be damaged, so take caution and protect yourself. Have the sprained ankle taped or wear some form of ankle support until it has healed.

Be aware there may also be an underlying fracture as well with an ankle sprain. This could contribute to the intense pain and swelling. It is possible to fracture the malleoli, cuboid, navicular, talus, or calcaneus. This is why it is important to see your doctor for an X-ray after an injury. An MRI might be needed because some fractures do not show up on conventional X-ray; MRI is also the best way to rule out underlying ligament damage.

sprained ankle treatment, rehab, recovery time - ankle sprains, ligaments - ligaments of the ankle

Ligaments of the ankle

While most ankle sprains will heal without complication, 20% of all sprains will lead to further chronic instability. Ligaments and tendons are stretched and damaged in an ankle sprain, but with the appropriate treatments we can heal and strengthen the area. If the ankle is left to heal on its own, you run the risk of developing an unstable joint. This can leading to multiple ankle injuries and even more complications down the road.

Sprained Ankle Treatment and Rehab

Before we get into treatment, we must first understand what is happening to the ligament. In the initial injury for example, the inversion sprain, the ATFL is stretched and torn. When this occurs the area will hemorrhage and will become inflamed. The body’s natural healing process will kick in and lay down more collagen to the affected area. If the appropriate steps are taken the collagen will lay down in the correct fashion reducing scar tissue and decrease the risk of future sprains.
sprained ankle treatment, rehab, recovery time - ankle sprains, ligaments - lateral ankle sprain

Lateral ankle sprain

Sprained Ankle Treatment

Initial treatment or the acute phase (0-24 hours) of the inversion injury/simple ankle sprain follows the usual regime of protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (PRICE). Although a very simple step, it is commonly overlooked, creating a longer recovery process.

Ice is most beneficial immediately after the injury, as it decreases swelling and helps with pain relief. Blood flow does not decrease significantly for about 10 minutes after the application of ice (but DO NOT ice longer than 20 minutes), by which time considerable bleeding may already have occurred, so the compressive element becomes equally important as an aid to restricting hemorrhage. The ankle should be taped in the opposite fashion of the injury. This will help to shorten the stretched ligaments and begin the healing process. If sports related, the athlete should be removed from the field of play without placing weight on the joint. The limb should be elevated as soon as possible and compression applied.

After you pick yourself up off the sidelines, go see your doctor. It is important to perform the appropriate orthopedics examination to determine the ankle’s stability and if there is any other underlying tendon ruptures or fractures. The majority of ankle sprains respond well to conservative care, and surgery is generally avoided in this type of injury. However it is recommended to see a doctor and let him/her make the call. You do not want to push an unstable ankle, or you can further damage the already weakened ankle.

Many think that because the ankle was injured the best course of action is to brace it and leave it alone. However, research shows that early mobilization of the joint will stimulate collagen bundle orientation and therefore stimulate healing. At Mountain View Pain Center we recognize the importance of adjusting and restore biomechanics to the joint while applying the other therapies. It is important to work with your doctor or trainer to properly rehab the area to strengthen and prevent from further sprains.

Early sprained ankle treatment will focus on moving out the edema (swelling) of the area, which will also promote healing. At Mountain View Pain Center we perform this process in several different ways. The first is an electrotherapy called hi-volt. Hi-volt is a direct current applied to the body through pads. In this type of injury the polarity should be set to positive (acts like ice). The hi-volt treatment has several benefits for an ankle sprain. The electric current will pump out the swelling and decrease pain.

The next step we take at Mountain View Pain Center is to apply kinesio-tape to the area. This allows the healing process to continue while the patient is at home. The tape also assists in the removal of inflammation and swelling. In the first 72 hours the kinesio-tape will be applied in a fan-like fashion across the foot with two strips, one facing towards the middle of the foot and one fanning out. This will open the lymphatic channels thus allowing the edema to move out of the area.

Another great way to move out swelling is a soft tissue technique aided with a specialized instrument. This specific technique is great for breaking spasms, removing adhesions (scar tissue), and in this case pushing out swelling. Your doctor should perform this to assist the lymphatic flow in the ankle. Adding this technique to our treatment has helped patients get back on their feet much quicker.

Sprained Ankle Rehab

After the removal of the pain and swelling, the next step is to begin rehab and work to prevent future ankle sprains. We do this by therapeutic exercises designed to strengthen the injured and weakened area. We also continue the use of kinesio-tape to help support the area, as well as allowing the patient the freedom to move the ankle, while still getting the therapeutic benefits. This is done with the same technique with tape to the outside of the foot, as well as stabilization tape up the calf muscle to aid the ankle in flexion of the foot.

Supplements

As mentioned in previous articles Omega fatty acids or fish oils help with inflammation in the body. Flavanoids, which give fruit their pigment, work exceptionally well with the reduction of inflammation, the increase of stabilizing collagen structures, and thus decrease pain. Collagen is a major protein in the tendons, so if you are trying to avoid future sprains, it is a good idea to take this supplement to help enforce the tendons.

Another important supplement to take for the prevention of future strains is vitamin C. Vitamin C deficiency is associated with defective formation of the tendons, making you more susceptible to an injury. (Side note: smokers are often deficient in vitamin C, so if you smoke you may be inhibiting your body’s ability to heal itself.)

Chronic Ankle Sprains

Without the appropriate care for an ankle sprain you may develop an unstable joint. When the joint becomes unstable the risk of further and more severe ankle sprains increases drastically. From here you must address the buildup of scar tissue as well as the instability. If you find yourself suffering from a chronic ankle sprain, let us know. We can help you develop a modified treatment plan.

These are the opinions and examples of treatment plans for sprained ankles from Mountain View Pain Center. If you have any further questions or concerns feel free to contact our office or leave a comment below. Additional home exercises can be prescribed by your physician to speed up the healing process.

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The Trainer’s Room is written exclusively for Midwest Sports Fans by Denver chiropractors Dr. Niall McNally and Dr. Ihsan Erhuy of the Mountain View Pain Center in Denver, CO. You can contact them by leaving a comment below or sending an email to info@mountainviewpaincenter.com.

Dr. Niall McNally is certified in chiropractic neurology and has a strong background in sports iDr. Niall McNally - Pain and Rehabilitation, Denvernjuries and in the rehabilitation of common nagging athletic problems. Dr. McNally also is trained in pediatrics, orthopedics, and nutrition.

He graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma and successfully completed his Doctor of Chiropractic degree at the Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas, TX. A very active athlete, Dr. McNally played hockey up into the junior level. In fact, it was his love for hockey, and the Colorado Avalanche, that originally gave him the idea to one day practice sports medicine and chiropractics in the area.

Dr. Ihsan Erhuy - Pain and Rehabilitation, DenverDr. Ihsan Erhuy specializes in motor vehicle accident injures, back, neck, and extremity problems, as well as treating pregnant patients and children. He is certified in the Diversified, Gonstead, Thompson, Upper Cervical, Activator, Sacral Occipital, Applied Kinesiology, Soft Tissue techniques.

Originally from Adana, Turkey, Dr. Erhuy graduated from the University of Arizona and also susuccessfully completed his Doctor of Chiropractic degree, along with his bachelor of science in health and wellness, at the Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas, TX.



About Mountain View Pain Center

At Mountain View Pain Center we are committed to relieving your pain and restoring you to good health and wellness. We are able to do this by combining expert advice, the highest quality chiropractic care currently available, advanced soft tissue work and state-of-the-art rehabilitation programs. At our office you will experience the benefits of a dynamic team approach and receive a level of care which is virtually unmatched elsewhere. With this powerful combination our chiropractors can dramatically improve your life and the lives of your friends and family. The Mountain View Pain Center is located in Centennial, CO which allows us to provide convenient chiropractic care and rehabilitation treatment to Aurora, Centennial, Denver, Lakewood, Parker, Littleton, Highlands Ranch, Cherry Hills, Lone Tree, and Green Wood Village.

Comments

  1. HI IM A 35 YEAR OLD MALE,WHO WAS CROSSING THE STREET AND SPRAINED MY ANKLE .I WAS IN FRONT OF THE HOSPITAL WHEN THIS HAPPEN WENT TO THE E.R. HAD A SOFT CAST PUT ON, 4 DAYS LATER I HAD A FOLLOW UP AND AT THAT POINT I WAS TOLD THAT I HAD A GRADE 2 SPRAIN .. MY DOCTOR TOLD ME THAT I NEEDED A HARD CAST FOR AT LEAST 2 WEEKS ..MY QUESTION IS WHY IF IT`S NOT BROKE OR FRACTURE WHY SHOULD THEY PUT A HARD CAST INSTEAD OF A BOOT OR ACE BANDAGE

    • Dr. McNally, D.C. says:

      @MICHAEL,

      That is a pretty good question. In many cases doctor's treatment plans very, and they do what they know gives them the best results or do what their training tells them to do. If you had seen a sports physcian I doubt this would have been the plan of action. It is hard to tell exactly why he would do this unless he suspected a underlying hairline fracture, or major instability of the ankle. It is not unlikley in a bad ankle sprain to have a small fracture, and in some instances it can take up to 10-14 days for a hairline fracture to show up on x-ray. Hopefully this gives you some insite on why he may have put you in a hard cast, in any case you should not be in it very long.

      Dr. McNally

  2. Anthony says:

    I'm 13 years old. I sprained my ankle skateboarding 7 days ago. By observing the chart above, I'm guessing I have a stage 1 sprain, because I am only experiancing minimal pain at this point. I went to the orthopediac and got x rays 3 days ago and they confirmed that i just had a sprain. The doctor gave me an air cast and I wore it for about 24 hours straight and have worn it for 0-10 hours a day since then as well as iceing the ankle 20 minutes on and off after activity. My ankle currently feels like it is almost 100% better when i walk and participate in other activities, but i just recently tried to skateboard again and it was extremely difficult. I performed absolutely terribly even though i felt very little pain attempting to maneuver the tricks. Why is this happening? Will i continue to suffer from this forever? Will I be able to return to my previous ability and even improve on that in a short amount of time? What can i do to get better? Thank you in advance for your time.

  3. A few weeks ago, I sprained my ankle, a grade two sprain. I went to the doctor, where they they only wrapped it and told me to stay off of it for several weeks. And so I have, as much as possible, and the pain gone but for when I move it in one direction. I am not as worried about the sprain, but the healing. Should I have seen a rehab center for it, because I would really not like to lose the stability of my ankle. I am sixteen, and relatively active, if it matters. Thank you ahead.

  4. I have a grade 3 sprain and have been in rehab for the last 3-4 weeks, so far so good but all of a sudden I get a shocking like twinge on the top of my foot near my big toe when I walk barefoot. I don't have that pain when I wear shoes, any suggestions?? I intend to ask my orthopaedic Doctor on my next visit.

    • Dr. McNally, D.C. says:

      @loni,

      Thanks for the response and I apologize about my late response. It is hard to determine exactly what is going on without seeing you and performing some orthopedic tests to determine what is going on. When you say twinge do you just mean you feel some pain in the joint by the big toe, or is it more of a radiating lighting like shock that runs across the foot towards the big toe? Also did you have an x-rays when you sprained the ankle. In some occasions a hairline fracture can take up to two weeks to show on x-ray, however it would be unlikely that you would have a fracture up by the toe from an ankle sprain.

  5. Most athletes will sprain an ankle at one time or another in their playing days. In general, sprains have traditionally taken 4-6 weeks to rehabilitate. In our office it is not uncommon to return an athlete to competition in 7-10 days. This all depends of course on many factors including the conditioning and level of commitment of the patient. First our office determines if the injury is indeed a sprain by radiographs or other methods and then follow up requires therapy if indicated. Work comp is focused on active and passive motion with support. Ultrasound or muscle stimulation is used along with ice and tape to support correct motion and inhibite unwanted motion. It is important at this time to walk on the injury as motion is part of the healing process. This rehabilitaion process takes 7-10 days of everyday care and moves into the prehibilitation phase where as care is emphasized to prevent future injury. Body balancing techniques are initialized during this phase using joint propicoception or balance board techniques to "get to know" the joint again as well as streghthen the surrounding area.

  6. Karl Van Zandt says:

    Thank you,

    I injured my ankle at work, I am self employed and was worried. Thank you for the gift of knowledge that put my mind at ease. Now I believe I can deal with the minor injury.

  7. bernadette says:

    hello, my 4yr old neice fell was sitting on a trampoline- not jumping

    an older child jump up onto to it.. bounced and off she flew.

    landed on her right ankle

    the ankle knob area is very black and blue and swollen.

    at the ER we were told a hairline fracture and were advised to see an orthopedic specialist.

    he said bad sprain. and it was wrapped

    yesterday- an una? booth was placed on it.

    however, it is still swollen, still very black and blue and she screams every time she attempts to stand on it.

    how do we know if she is just reacting from fear or if it is still that painful.

    this has been a full 7 days since the injury?

    thank you for any suggestions or opinions.

    • Dr. McNally, D.C. says:

      @bernadette,

      It sounds like she landed on it pretty hard to cause a fracture. Remember even just a sprained ankle can be very painful to stand on, so she will still have some difficulty walking for a least another week or so. Sorry it took so long to respond, how has she progressed since then?

      Dr. McNally

  8. Hi, I sprained my ankle while hiking 3 months ago, went to the doctor and got x rays said there was no broken bones I got a brace, I wore a brace and after 3 weeks I started biking but the swelling wasn't getting any better so I went to Physical Therapy for ine visit since I'm uninsured. I was told I had to rest it, ice it and elevated it, and then start strenghtening exercises which I did. I felt I got much better after a month of rest, so I went back to biking again and was feeling fairly good but 2 weeks ago I hyper-extended my foot while biking with the pedal and felt like evething got stretched so I have not been biking since then, and then 5 days ago I was walking fast and my foot gave up on me and it rolled towards the outside of my foot and made my ankle swell up again and have been having some pain again. I 've been icing everyday and elevating; but after 3 months I'm feeling frustated and worried this will become a chronic issue… I been going to the chiropractor and have gotten some laser treatments on my foot but I want to heal completely and be ready for the snowboard season coming up. Please help me out. Thank you.

    • Dr. McNally, D.C. says:

      @Candy,

      Thanks for the comment and I apologize about the late response. It sounds like initially you let the injury go to long without treatment. What can happen in this case is the ligaments that were stretched an torn did not have time to heal, which will give you an unstable ankle. This will make the risk of re-injury more likely as you have experienced. I think you are taking the right steps now with the laser treatment and chiropractic, it is important to restore the proper biomechanics to the joint, which your chiropractor will be doing. Something you may ask your chiropractor to add is some kinesio-tape to help support the area without the restrictions of athletic tape.

      Dr. McNally

  9. Hello, I need your advice.

    3 months ago I sprained my ankle really bad while hiking, went to the doctor, got x rays; I didn't have any broken bones, so I got a brace which I wore. After 3 weeks or so I started biking but the pain and swelling weren't getting any better so I went to Physical Therapy one time (since I'm uninsured) and was told to rest it, ice it and elevated until the swelling would go down and then I could start strenghtening exercises… I did all that and after a month of rest and feeling much better I went back into biking.. I was feeling pretty good but 2 weeks ago I hyper-extended my foot while biking with the pedal, I felt my foot got stretched too fast and made me swell a little bit again on my ankle and on top of my foot; and then 5 days ago I was walking fast and my foot gave up on me and made my foot roll towards the outside, almost spraining it again but not quite; making it swell and hurt again (not as bad though), so I've been icing it, elevating it and resting but I'm worried and frustrated I don't want this to become a chronic issue. I also have been going to my chiropractor and have had 2 laser treatments. What should I do?

    I want to heal completely and be ready for snowboarding season.

    Thank you. Ms Zapata

    • Dr. McNally, D.C. says:

      @Zapata,

      Thanks for the comment and I apologize about the late response. It sounds like initially you let the injury go to long without treatment. What can happen in this case is the ligaments that were stretched an torn did not have time to heal, which will give you an unstable ankle. This will make the risk of re-injury more likely as you have experienced. I think you are taking the right steps now with the laser treatment and chiropractic, it is important to restore the proper biomechanics to the joint, which your chiropractor will be doing. Something you may ask your chiropractor to add is some kinesio-tape to help support the area without the restrictions of athletic tape.

      Dr. McNally

  10. About 4 months ago i steped of a porch step and rolled my right ankle. Done this many times before. But this injury will not heal. like the others, ive done some research and its the Anterior Talofibular Ligament. Most days it doesnt hurt at all, i can jog and etc. Im a golfer which is why this is a concern to me. Then some days i cant walk at all i literally have to crawl, im in so much pain. I dont have the money to go too a docter right now, so what can i do at home to help keep the pain from just showing up.

    • Dr. McNally, D.C. says:

      @mark,

      Try to start to slowly strengthen the ankle without pushing it too hard. When starting the rehab process you need to take it slow, so as not to re-injure the area. Things that you can begin with is toe raises, this mean have your foot flat on the ground, and lift the toes of the ground this will help strengthen the tibialis muscle on the front of the shin, and help to stabilize the ankle. Also start with rolling the ankle to restore movement. Begin with the nutrition as well.

      Dr. McNally

  11. I sprained my ankle six weeks ago while playing tennis. Unlike the drawing above, I sprained my ankle inward. I went to an urgent care facility initially and was told to allow the ankle to heal for four weeks by wearing a brace. After a couple weeks the pain got worse as I walked on it, so I went to an orthopaedic doctor. He told me what kind of sprain it was and gave me a more comfortable air cast. However, my ankle still feels the same. After calling the orthopaedic doctor's office back, they told me that sometimes these sprains take 10 to 12 weeks to heal. For some reason, I don't believe that since I still feel the pain. Is this true? Should I be concerned? I'm doing the rehabilitation exercises, but can't seem to get any relief.

    • Dr. McNally, D.C. says:

      @Alvin,

      It is possible for the ankle to take several weeks to heal. I would suggest getting some treatment done as suggested above, this will help with the pain, swelling, and increase healing time. Having to deal with the ankle for 12 weeks is too long, so if you need a good recommendation let me know what area you are in and I will find someone for you.

      Dr. McNally

  12. Thanks for the advice doc. I have been icing my ankle every night and then soaking it in hot water in the tube. Can you over ice your ankle, because today it started hurting again, i iced it for about 1hr and soaked it for 10mins.

    • Dr. McNally, D.C. says:

      @mark,

      Yes you can over ice the ankle. You do not want to use ice any longer than 20 minutes, ice baths are usually colder so even less. Once you over ice the body will think the area is under hypothermia, and will send more blood to the area, acting like heat. Try not to ice over 20 minutes, a good rule with ice is once you feel the area starting to numb take the ice off. Also if you are still in the acute phase avoid heat for now, even though it feels good the area will actually get more swollen and hurt worse later.

    • @mark, also the moving the foot around just makes my ankle sore for days, i have tried doing it often but had to stop because of the next day i cant walk. its my right ankle and i play golf everyday, when i swing the golf club it doesnt hurt even though im putting all my weight on it. Is that a good way to make it stronger or is that doing the opposite.

  13. and its never swollen, unless i twist my foot the wrong way. But there is a little not on top of my Peroneus Longus, could this mean that i teared my ligament. thanks for all ur help

  14. also this injury happened over half a year ago, it took about a month to stop hurting everyday, but since then it comes and goes. I walk bearfooted alot and were flip flops, should i not be doing this even when my ankle isnt hurting at the time.

    • Dr. McNally, D.C. says:

      @mark,

      Even though the ankle may not be swollen in appearance there may still be inflammation under tissue causing pain. As for the knot on the muscle it is possible there is some scar tissue in there from the initial injury. This can be worked out as in the technique described in the article. As for flip flops the jury is out on whether or not they actually cause a problem. In my opinion flip flops are more unstable than shoes so they could cause a problem.

      Dr. McNally

  15. I took a tumble on my bicycle on Sat-June 20th and waited until Monday to get treatment. I went to the ER and they xrayed and said I have a fractured fibula and a severe #3 sprained ankle. I still can't put any wt on it, The problem is I was born w/ severe club feet and had corrective surgeries, as a child (I am 59yrs old now) I have no insurance because I was laid off in April. I cant afford ort5ho Dr so they sent me to a PA who said just start putting wt on it and should be fine before Sept. Any suggestions? It still swells foot and calf if I dont keep it elevated and looks discolored, but I dont have any numbness.

    • Dr. McNally, D.C. says:

      @Sherry,

      Did you get a cast for the broken fibula? If you do not get some form of treatment the ankle will remain unstable and could be at risk of further injury. I would recommend either seeing a chiropractor or physical therapist, there treatment is usually significantly cheaper and they are more familiar with soft tissue treatment, such as a sprained ankle, however you will need an ortho for the broken bone. For example if you have an x-ray of a bone at an ortho's office or hospital you could pay up to $500, at my office we charge 40 for an x-ray of the ankle. There are places you can be treated without insurance, you just need to find the right place.

      Dr. McNally

  16. also the moving the foot around just makes my ankle sore for days, i have tried doing it often but had to stop because of the next day i cant walk. its my right ankle and i play golf everyday, when i swing the golf club it doesnt hurt even though im putting all my weight on it. Is that a good way to make it stronger or is that doing the opposite

    • Dr. McNally, D.C. says:

      @mark,

      If anything causes pain to do then it is not the right move at all. Start with small ankle movements and see how far you can go before the pain starts. That is where you know you can do your exercises and can try to go further each week and that will help strengthen the area. Also wobble boards are a good way to increase stability, but be careful if your balance is not good try holding on to something first, if you fall you will hurt yourself worse.

      Dr. McNally

  17. jered wood says:

    i twisted my right ankle during football practice, and now it hurts a little to walk, run, and jump. however our team trainer tapes it up and says it should be alright, but it still hurts. should i practice .??

    • Dr. McNally, D.C. says:

      @jered wood,

      How is the ankle now? The more you practice on it, while it is sore the longer it will take to recover. While you are out of practice try some of the things above to start to rehab the area. I in no way intend to offend your trainer however they are not really trained with the knowledge of how to actually treat these types of injuries to the extent you could get at a doctors or a therapists office. They do however tape better than anyone, and see a ton of ankle injuries so keep a close eye on the ankle. If it is not improving see someone else. If you feel the tape is helping, then follow your trainers instructions.

      Dr. McNally

  18. Hi,

    I rolled over my right ankle in basketball. I am wondering what your impression might be from the following description. It hurts and looks swollen from the "ball" (tibia?) on the outside of the ankle towards the very front of it (about a line of a couple of inches) but it is also swollen on the posterior side of the inside "ball" (tibia?) of the ankle maybe about an inch or two long around that "ball" towards the foot. So the areas are diagonally opposed – for lack of correct vocabulary – if the front of the ankle is north then these areas are northeast (outside) and southwest (inside). It happened a couple of hours ago and these areas are very sensitive to weight bearing (especially the area on the inside) although I can walk limping with discomfort. Moving my toes feels moderately painful in the inside posterior area. When the injury occurred it was very very painful for about 5 minutes or so. I have rolled over ankles before but this has certainly been a whole different level of pain and subsequent discomfort.

    Thank you very much for any feedback and for the general information.

    • Dr. McNally, D.C. says:

      @Carlos,

      I am assuming when you say the "ball" you are referring the lateral mallelous of the tibia, which is the outside bump of the ankle joint. This is the most common area for a lateral ankle sprain, and the ligaments pass around this point. The swelling is normal and it is common to get swelling around the entire ankle even on the inside. However without knowing the severity of the sprain or actually seeing you I cannot say for sure. If the ankle is still swollen and starts bruise and walking becomes difficult it may be a good idea to get an x-ray. Sometimes it is possible to fracture that part of the tibia we where referring to.

      Dr. McNally

      • Thanks for your reply Dr. McNelly. It turns out I didn't have a fracture, but actually quite a sprain. The MRI report (done 3.5 days after the injury) states the following impression: 1 – complete tear of anterior talofibular ligament with high grade tear of calcaneofibular ligament; 2 – low grade sprains of inferior band of posterior tibiofibular and talofibular ligaments; 3- focal split tear of peroneus brevis tendon in fibular and subfibular location; 4 – small marrow contusion of inferolateral aspect of talar head associated with small talonavicular joint effusion; 5 – moderate tibiotalar joint effusion with fluid communicating with flexor hallucis longus tendon sheath. It makes note of other ligaments, tendons, and bone cartilage that appear normal. The doctor's note (6 days after injury) makes mentions of a "negative squeeze test as well as talar tilt test", "moderate pain with plantarflexion", "notable pain against resistance with inversion and abduction". "2+ dorsalis pedis pulse and cap refill in less than 2 seconds". At therapy we have worked on exercises with elastic bands to prevent too much weakness of the ankle, but after a couple of sessions had to stop the balancing exercises (moving the good leg in back/forth and sideways motion while standing on injured leg) because the ankle way getting swollen and there was noticeable pain along the ATFL area as well as on the posterior/medial aspect of the ankle.

        With that said. I am wondering what might be your approach to something like this. Particularly regarding protection and rest. How long should I use the aircast boot and crutches? What would you recommend in terms of exercise plan? They are trying to push me to walk again but it just doesn't feel like I can do it without crutches without getting into a cycle of pain and swelling. I am also not using the boot since therapy started 2 weeks after injury. I saw there is a reference to a recent Lancet article on the immobilization of severe ankle sprains ( Lamb SE, Marsh JL, Hutton JL, Nakash R, Cooke MW (February 2009). "Mechanical supports for acute, severe ankle sprain: a pragmatic, multicentre, randomised controlled trial"),which I can't read but seems to advocate for the use of boot or similar below the knee immobilization leading to faster recovery at 3 months. Lastly, I would be interested in specific nutritional advice for a good recovery (i.e. how much collage supplements should be taken, diet etc).

        I know this is a lot to ask, but any help you can provide is immensely appreciated as I haven't been able to get much in terms of information about all these concepts.

        Thanks very much!

  19. I was playing rugby and whilst i was chasing someone it felt as if i trapped my right foot in a hole or simply went over on it , im still quite unsure. Immediately my ankle started to swell up and the pain was excruciating. I went straight to the hospital where i was given x-rays , it showed nothing was broken and i had suffered a 4th degree/grade ankle sprain and i was simply told to rest and ice it. The next few days were agony , my leg , foot , ankle and toes were unbelievably swollen and covered in dark bruising.

    I have continued to rest it and it has now been 6 weeks since the injury. I have had more x rays and reassured there was no evident breaks. Yet i still cannot walk , it is still swollen and my foot is a worrying colour.

    • Dr.Erhuy, D.C. says:

      @Ross, It sounds like you’re going through a lot of pain and I am sorry to hear that. But as the article says grade 3 takes 4-28 weeks to recover. A grade 4 on the other hand will take even longer because of the damage done to the ligaments. Try some of the advice in the article such as Hi-volt to push the swelling out of the area. As for the discoloration this is a normal step of the healing process, it doesn't look every nice but it’s normal. Please feel free to keep us up dated on your ankle.

      Thanks,

      Dr. Erhuy, DC

    • Mark Korda says:

      Hi Ross,I am a rugby fan,but only played football.I saw a lot of my buddies get injured.I walked home from my favorite pub 3 weeks ago and stepped in a pot hole.I went down like I got shot with an elephant gun.I'm 52 but until the ankle injury worked out every day.Some freinds gave me an air cast and almost every brase you could think of.I paint interiors for a living and was working for a female doctor who really did not take a close look.I'm hobbling around without crutches,and the right side of my right foot seems like where the injury presides.I don't have worring color yet,and I have no insurance,and I don't think I'm getting any improvement.The doctor I was working for said she did the same thing and it took 4 months to get better.I think I needed some one to vent to,and your injury sounded like mine.I'm going crazy…..lost my cable tv and am doomed to listen to AM talk radio.If you got the time,I got the time to listen…..thanks..Mark Korda Portland Maine.

  20. I was playing rugby and whilst i was chasing someone it felt as if i trapped my right foot in a hole or simply went over on it , im still quite unsure. Immediately my ankle started to swell up and the pain was excruciating. I went straight to the hospital where i was given x-rays , it showed nothing was broken and i had suffered a 4th degree/grade ankle sprain and i was simply told to rest and ice it. The next few days were agony , my leg , foot , ankle and toes were unbelievably swollen and covered in dark bruising.

    Should I be concerned ?

    I have continued to rest it and it has now been 6 weeks since the injury. I have had more x rays and reassured there was no evident breaks. Yet i still cannot walk , it is still swollen and my foot is a worrying colour.

  21. Adam Ross says:

    22 years old, grade 2/3 sprain.

    Hi,

    4 weeks ago at rugby ground I rolled my ankle on an uneven surface sidestepping at full pace.

    I knew straight away that it was a bad sprain, I did not think that a break occured.

    I did the right thing and got it xrayed – their was however two breaks. One on either side of the ankle (the one on the inside of the ankle was probably an old injury!).

    After three weeks in a cast I went back to the hospital for further prognosis and (without another xray) the doctor feels that it is just ligament damage now and stuck me in another fiberglass cast this one weight bareing.

    I am roughly four weeks into my recovery, how long do you feel I will be out for and are there any tips and comments you could offer to help speed up this recovery?

    Thanks in advance

    Adam

  22. Hi,

    About 6 weeks ago I sprained my ankle on an obstacle course training with my Reserve unit. The obstacle required me to jump off of a platform that was 12 feet high onto some soft rubber. Unfortunately when I landed I rolled my ankle and immediately heard and felt a pop in my ankle and absolutely could not put any weight on it from that exact moment. I had to be carried into the car and rushed to the ER. They took X-rays then, and the doctor said it was not broken, but just a bad sprain. He gave me crutches and an aircast which I used for about three weeks. When I got home I made an appointment with a sports orthopedic and he thoroughly examined my ankle and took more X-rays. He diagnosed me with a grade 2 sprain, gave me a compression ankle brace and advised me to do therapy. Also advised me to come back in 3-4 weeks, if not better, to do an MRI.

    It has now been six weeks. I've been putting it in the cold pool for at least 15 min a day, putting a hot pack at night before I go to sleep and doing the rehab. My ankle still feels like something is terribly wrong with it. I know these things take time to heal but I'm afraid that its just not healing quick enough. I am a personal trainer and have to be on my feet all day. I know this has a lot to do with the healing process, but what other option do I have? I am an avid runner and have not been able to do anything for 6 weeks and counting. And I still cannot run! Should I make another appointment with my doctor and get the MRI?

    Thanks,

    Jackie

  23. Here is a tricky one:

    Water ski accident. Binding did not release feet in high speed fall resulting in axial loading of talus. Examination suspects neck of talus fracture and damaged deltoid ligmanets, however no fracture appears on xray, even after 4 weeks. First two weeks were on crutches with no weight bearing. Second 2 weeks were walking with boot. Ankle is still swolen and painful when twisted or loaded at any angle. Planning to visit doctor again in 1 week.

    Thoughts????? Going on week 6 and the ankle is still swolen.

  24. About 4 months ago I was running down the stairs and jumped off of the 3 to last step and landed on the side of my foot spraining my ankle. I put ice on it for awhile and used ibuprofen. even after 3 months there was mild pain to turn my foot to the left and right. About a month ago I was running on the sidewalk with my son and I stepped off onto the grass and turned my ankle again. This time it hurt so bad I became nauseous. I used ice and heat as well as ibuprofen. It doesn't hurt to turn it right or left anymore, however it hurts when I move it up and down. I haven't gone to the doctor simply because it was a sprain. What can I do to strengthen it up. I am a very physically active person and this has kept me from many of the exercises I usually do at the gym. Thank you.

  25. Three weeks ago I rolled my ankle when I stepped down off the stairs, and I believed I dislocated it. I felt what I think was the bone dislocating out of the joint, and it felt almost as if the leg bone hit the floor because I got a jarring sensation further up my leg. The whole incident was the most excrutiating pain I've ever felt. My foot looked as though it was twisted to the side, and it hurt immensely to try to straighten it. I went to the ER immediately and they said there was no fracture and it just a sprain. They didn't tell me much more than that, just gave me an air splint and crutches and told me to follow up with my doctor in 10 days. When I went to the doctor (at 11 days post injury) I was still experiencing significant pain and swelling. He mentioned a concern of the smaller fractures you mentioned and told me to return in a week or two if I was still experiencing pain. It's now been three weeks since I injured it, and I have more mobility and am able to stand and (sort of) walk on it, but it's still swollen and still painful at times. I cannot flex it towards me without significant pain. Is this part of the normal healing process or should I return to the doctor for further checkup?

  26. hello,
    i sprained my ankle yesterday playing soccer. it did not swell up after but the next day it did. it does not hurt when i put pressure on it but when i twist it and rotate on it, it does. the ankle also feels loser than the other.

    WHAT IS YOUR OPINON????
    THANK YOU

    • Dr. McNally says:

      This is actually a fairly common reaction to a sprain. usually the swelling gets worse the day after and even within the first 72 hours. What occurs with the sprain generally is a stretching of the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. This will cause pain of flexion and rotation of the ankle. There is also an instability there from the loosened ligaments which can give you that feeling. It is important to get quick treatment on the area so you are out of pain quickly and do not have the risk of further sprains in the future.
      Dr. McNally

    • 13yroldpntgrd says:

      my injury was like that except i also couldnt put pressure on it so you should get it checked up

  27. Hello
    I am a US MArine and i constantly sprain my ankle. Two weeks ago I fell and rolled my ankle. I let it heal for a little less then a week because thats what our medical provided me. Well this past Tuesday I was running down a hill and my ankle gave out and i fell down the hill and sprained my ankle again. I have a hard time bearing weight on it. I went to the ER and they said there was no breaks, but it is always cold and its a constant sharp pain even when laying down. What can I do since our medical sucks and they continue to say Im fine.

    • What has happened here is you have a chronic ankle sprain. When you initially sprained the ankle what has happened is you stretched the tendons and ligaments. Without initially getting the appropriate treatment the ankle has become unstable, and therefore making it easier to injure in the future. What you need to do is have the ankle treated. I know the military will have some physical therapist and chiropractors that work on or near basis and will be covered under your insurance. This could become a problem in the future if you are in the field and cannot carry your pack or keep up with the group due to your ankle. If there is therapist there you can see, you can have them call me and I will walk them through the treatment process. What you need is for the ankle to be taped in the opposite way it was sprained to help shorten the ligaments and heal the area. Do not wear the tape al day though as this can weaken the area. If the therapist is familiar with kinesio tape then that is a great option that does not restrict the motion.
      Dr. McNally

  28. Jane Brandon says:

    Hi,
    I sprained my ankle about 7 weeks ago. My trainer told me that it was a grade one sprain and because this happened at the end of my soccer season I wanted to play through any pain (my team made it to the finals). I let my ankle rest over the weekend (three days) and then began testing it with light jogging. I continued to play… although never actually participating in game speed play. Now after seven weeks and over two weeks of complete rest from the sport and one whole week without any exercise there is still some pain. The pain occurs when I try to sit cross legged… basically it feels stiff after I get up from sitting. But I can walk the pain right off after about ten steps.
    I was wondering… should I just let my ankle continue to heal? It doesn't really bother me too much and I'm afraid that I'm just paranoid about it. I can't tell if the pain is getting any better because it is intermittent. Or should I see a doctor? The next step is an X-ray I feel and I don't want to go to all the trouble for the doctor to tell me it is just taking longer because I didn't let it rest right away…. But if I continue to wait could I be damaging my ankle further?
    I only have a month or two before my spring season of soccer and I want to heal my ankle so I can actually play it. What is your advice?

    • You have plenty of time before the next season to get this taken care of. It would have been beneficial to get the x-ray after the injury as in ankle sprains it is not uncommon to get a small fracture at the distal portion of the fibula, which is one of the bones that makes up the ankle joint. Hopefully there is no fracture and if there is not. Follow the steps above and have a sports trainer doctor do your therapy. Ankle injuries are common and should not take too long to get you back to game speed. Let me know if there is any other questions, or how you have progressed so far.
      Dr. McNally

  29. my daughter torn her ligament 9 months ago and the hospital first said she will be all fixed in 3 weeks no problem 9 months on they are telling her she need to have a ATFL reconstruction surgery

    • Can you give me some further information on this injury? How did this happen? What are her symptoms? What treatment have they provided? It is not uncommon for the hospital to provide a boot, but no actual rehab to improve the ankle function. Did they do an MRI to confirm the tear in the ligament? The ATFL is the anterior talofibular ligament, which basically stabilizes the ankle. If this in fact torn then surgery is probably the best option. Have you tried any conservative treatments? Send me an update and see if I can offer any advice.
      Dr. McNally

  30. I am 13 y/o female, who was diagnosed with ankle sprain at a local ER. Xrays revealed no fracture. That was 2 weeks ago. I was given an ankle support and told to use crutches for non weight bearing for 10 days, then to see an orthopedist if not better. It is still painful, there has never been no edema or brusing, just pain upon wt bearing at the ankle and up about three inches on my leg. How long does it take to heal, and do I need to have an MRI performed to be sure there is no fracture.

    • Ankle injuries can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks to heal depending on the severity. In many cases we take a second set of x-rays after two weeks to rule out any underlying hairline fractures that did not show up the first time. Have you tried any conservative treatments from a chiropractor or physical therapist? This usually will get you out of pain and back walking around much quicker, and can prevent from chronic sprains.
      Dr. McNally

    • 13yroldgirlpntgrd says:

      My good leg hurts from holding al my weight of withone leg did urs?

  31. I sprained my ankle about three months ago. It swelled, I could not put much pressure on it when I woke up, making it almost impossible to walk. However, I walked on it and that more I walked the better and looser it got. I went through this for about 3 weeks, every week it was a little better. The swelling was gone in about 2 weeks and the pain eventually left the outside of my left ankle. The only pain that was left was on the inside of my ankle and on the bone in the middle of my foot. This pain, though mild has not gone away in three months. After working I feel discomfort in the foot bone and it is tender to pressure from my hands. I can walk fine but find myself limping slightly if I am on my feet for long periods of time. Is this normal to have the inside bone of my foot still be hurting after a sprain? The ankle does not hurt at all anymore and I have full motion. I am wondering because it is getting annoying. thanks

    • When spraining the ankle it is possible to fracture the lower portion of the tibia, which is the inside ankle bone. It is also possible to get a bone bruise in this area. Did you have an x-ray done after first spraining the ankle? It is also common when injuring the ankle to slightly dislocate or subluxate some of the bones in the ankle joint. I would recommend having an x-ray first, if they are clear then have the ankle adjusted or mobilized. This should free up some motion in the ankle and decrease pain. Let me know if you need any recommendations in your area.
      Dr. McNally

      • dear Dr. i just sprained my ankle a day ago and it really hurts when i put pressure on it,they said that i have a severely inflamed ligament,what should i do

  32. Last year i was playing netball, as i do yearly. and about 2 games into the season i fell over, hearing a big snapping sound i swore i must of broken or fractued my ankle, my coach lifted me of the court and elevated it and put ice on it, 15 minutes later i went to the hospital, my foot was pretty much black and purple and was really swollen and i definetly couldnt walk on it, the doctor said i tore my ligament in my ankle, and strapped it a little bit lower then my knee.. It was very painful. Im guessing i had grade 3 sprain.. i keeped my ankle strapped for about 4 months.. Back to now it has been almost a year since i tore a ligament and it is still painful, My mum and coach aswell as my pe teacher told me i should be doing some exercises with it. i have started. but the pain and discomfort wont go away what do i do ?

    • Did you ever have an x-ray or MRI. I think getting an MRI around now would be a good start so we can see the extent of the damage to the area, and see if there is any tissue damage to the area.
      Dr. McNally

  33. vballchick232 says:

    I got a high sprain 7 weeks ago playing volleyball. I landed on my teammates foot while hitting. I was in a boot for 2 weeks and completed physical therapy about 2 weeks ago. I still have swelling on the top of ankle and have pain when doing normal activities like walking up the stairs. I returned to practice under the supervision of my coach and don't have too much pain while playing, probably the adrenaline of play. I'm wondering how long it will be till my ankle is back to normal or if it will ever be the same again?

  34. adamsbrett43 says:

    Has anyone used the sprained ankle rehab guide called HEM? It's been recommended to me by this site: http://www.sprainedankle.me/

    It seems like plenty of people have tried it, but I'd like a real time recommendation of it. Have you used it? How long does it really take to see results? Thank you!

    • I have not personally used this system so I cannot say weather it is good or bad. Most on-line companies will have testimonials saying it is the greatest thing on Earth. The only problem with that is these companies write those themselves. Your best bet is to try to find someone who has used it. For me personally I would not use it myself, as you need the proper diagnosis of the problem which you cannot due yourself. You want to be sure there are no fracture, completely torn ligaments, or other things that would contraindicate some of the treatments. I have briefly looked at the advice and one thing to be careful about is the inversion exercises. Generally when you sprain your ankle you have torn or stretch the outside ligaments which are lengthen on inversion. If these are damaged you do not want to further stretch this area, until the appropriate time, which usually your doctor or therapist will now.
      Dr. McNally

      • adamsbrett43 says:

        Hi Dr. McNally, thanks a lot for your opinion! I ended up grabbing the rehab guide and have been at it the past 3 weeks for my right ankle. It's been going super well for me, much better than I imagined. But as you said, everyone is different, so great suggestions. Thanks!

  35. Coach Hopson says:

    Hello,

    First of all let me say it is ironic that I have a bachelor's in Kinesiology (I am a Coach not a trainer) but still search the web for how to care for my ankle. I've had bad ankles since high school. I usually had a grade 1 sprain every time I played basketball yet no one educated me on the correct way to care for it (Coach never taped or braced it). It took a more severe injury in college for me to finally get supports and take care of them properly. My ankles seemed fully healed and I went for a couple of years with no injuries. However, 8 months ago I suffered the most damaging sprain I've ever had to endure: a level 3.

  36. Coach Hopson says:

    (continued)
    I R.I.C.E.ed it, and stayed off of it, walking on it only in short distances and what pain would allow. X-rays did not show any fractures. No MRI was taken. After 3 or 4 weeks I returned to straight line running and light duty work outs assuming that I would be strenghting it. I tried to push through some of the pain and may have tried to push it too hard, according to my family. The trainer said to listen to my body and do what the pain permitted. Eventually I got it back up to where I could play basketball on it again (with good braces this time) experiencing a little stiffness and only slight pain from time to time. Ibuprofen would usually keep the pain blocked .

  37. Coach Hopson says:

    (continued)
    One week ago I reinjured the same ankle coming down on someone's foot on a rebound. I think the brace saved me from a level 3 and/or high sprain but believe I have a level 2. I have not been to the doctor because the pain doesn't seem that significant at this time. There was little swelling and the pain is under the ankle and not up high. I've been walking on it a little bit (what pain will allow) in an effort to strengthen it. I did the RICE for the first 24+ hours and I still keep compression on it and use a crutch when I am going to be standing up or walking for long periods of time. I've also upgraded my braces to a Breg's XT that seems to almost completely eliminate the unwanted movement.

    My question is: Do I keep doing what "pain permits" and attempting to strenghten it? Can I be hurting my joint even when there is little to no pain?

    • It sounds like you have an old injury that has become a chronic problem, because of lack of an appropriate treatment plan. Once the ligaments in the ankle have become stretched and torn, unless you receive the proper treatment, to heal the area and remove excess scar tissue you run the risk of chronic sprain through instability. As for your question, When you have pain in the ankle it is not a good idea to keep[p pushing through the pain. If your ankle is producing pain when exercise back off and only do what your body allows without pain, this will help in the healing process. Also if you are concerned with a full ligament tear then an MRI might be a good idea.

    • adamsbrett43 says:

      Coach, to be honest, I'm not sure about your particular situation.. and since you have a BA I'm sure you know way more than me! But I've had my own trouble with ankle sprains (during basketball) and had always seemed to re-sprain them at some point. This last time though (about 3 weeks ago) I sprained my right ankle again, for the 4th or 5th time..

      While researching around online I can across this site:http://www.sprainedankle.org/ – It walked me through the H.E.M. ankle rehab guide, and told me about the benefits, etc. To be honest I was really skeptical.. but it kicked some serious butt! Lots of great techniques and pt exercises in there, especially for only $20. I ended up rehabbing it for the last 3 weeks. The swelling was way down after only a few days, and it's been getting stronger ever since. Something to check out if you're looking for some great techniques and exercises to rehab it.

      Best,
      - Brett

  38. (continued)
    I have looked up your brace on line and it seems to decent. I use the DeRoyal Element X sports brace at the office, it also for good mobility, while keeping it stable and also is less bulky. Remember almost all braces and medical equipment is covered by your insurance under DME (durable Medical Equipment) most people and doctors are unaware of this so patients end up spending unnecessary money. So if you want you can probably get a new one without much problem as long as you can find a doctor to order it for you. If you need us to just shoot me an email, and we can discuss it.
    Dr. McNally

    • Coach Hopson says:

      I've got the Bregs and I am very pleased with them. Thanks for the replies, suggestions and thanks for maintaining this site. I'm doing well. I took some jumpshots today and it was virtually painless (save a slight bit of stiffness) I feel I could probably return to full court action tomorrow-but if I do I think I'll be cautiously conservative. I said I would take 30 days off. Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since the most recent sprain. Maybe I didn't need 30 days. I read that returning to at least some level of activity as soon as possible often promotes healing.

      • That is true. What is a good idea to get back in on your last week is go to the gym and hit the ellipticall machine. This will allow you to run with decent speed, increase range of motion in the ankle and avoid the pounding of running which could case increase in pain. If you are able to do this for the week with no pain then you can begin playing basketball.

        • Coach Hopson says:

          Thanks for the extra info, I have immediate access to an ellipticall and I'll do that!

        • Coach Hopson says:

          I am considering taking supplements to promote the health of my ligaments. I am looking at Triflex, Fish Oil and Glucosamine & Chondroitin. Any further suggestions on that?

  39. markandsam says:

    I am 36 and sprained my ankle last night playing soccer on a women's team…I have RICEd it since I returned home last night and am wondering what options I have. I don't have health insurance so going to the doctor is not an option. It is swollen, as usual, but I can walk on it with minimal pain. What kind of PT can I do on my own to strengthen it so it does not become reoccuring?

    • I would still have this checked out just to be on the safe side. You could find a PT or sports chiro there exams will be significantly cheaper. If you cannot get anywhere your best bet is to continue with the ice, and stay off the ankle in sports until you no longer have pain. If you get back to soon you risk reinjuring the area.
      Dr. McNally

      • Coach Hopson says:

        I've got the Bregs and I am very pleased with them. Thanks for the replies, suggestions and thanks for maintaining this site. I'm doing well. I took some jumpshots today and it was virtually painless (save a slight bit of stiffness) I feel I could probably return to full court action tomorrow-but if I do I think I'll be cautiously conservative. I said I would take 30 days off. Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since the most recent sprain. Maybe I didn't need 30 days. I read that returning to at least some level of activity as soon as possible often promotes healing.

  40. Coach Hopson says:

    -sorry I replied in the wrong place- I will repost in the other reply section

  41. Dispatchintx501 says:

    I sprained my ankle almost 2 weeks ago, it is lateral ligament damage. I went to the doctor the next day and had it xrayed which showed no fractures. They looked at it, gave me a brace and told me that it is sprained, didn't tell my which level, just that would probably be on crutches about a week and looking at at least a 6 week recovery. My question is, that a week and 5 days later if I am still not able to walk on it, between the pain and the inability to bend the foot up to where able to put foot flat on the ground it is not possible. It is also still having signifigant swelling, especially when I am having to be up and moving around (on crutches still) so there is barely any weight put on it, just little bit to balance.

  42. Dispatchintx501 says:

    (continued from below)
    The pain has eased up some but is still very painful lateral area of ankle, seems any type of movement of leg or ankle pain gets unbearable. I don't know if I am doing anything wrong, the doctor didn't really give me any info on recovery and what I should or should not do. I don't have health insurance right now so only wanted xray to rule out a break or fracture. Any help or info you could give me would be very much appreciated. I feel like maybe there is more damage than originally thought, or maybe I am just a big wimp, but having had 3 children I would think I would be able to determine the difference. Thank you

  43. i sprained my ankle 3 weeks ago while palying basketaball. right after that happened went to ER, had some xrays taken and there was no broken bones/nor fractures. doc never told me what degree sprained i had nor give more info about injured, my guess was #3. i can put some weight on it, but i can't do it without crutches and boot. i have ben icing my ankle couple times a day for about 20min then strap it. i cant afford MRI or Phy ther at this time. my ankle almost looks normal, some bruces around toes and calf also some swollen around the ankle bone. almost no pain, but some disconfort when trying to put some weight. i can move my toes and ankle down and not all the way up. my question is it normal that i can't walk without the crutches yet? how long does it usually takes for i gues #3 degree to walk without crutches? and if not much trouble how can you tell what degree injured you have?

    • Be Patient could take a few more weeks or a month or two. but one day you'll feel like you can walk on it alittle bit and you take a couple of steps and you'll say i will see how it goes today without my crutches and if all goes ok then you'll slowly take yourself off the crutches.

    • Chris, your message was posted 20 weeks ago now. Please tell us that you have healed completely by now (?). How much longer did you actually need to continue using the crutches?? Are you still in any noticeable pain?

  44. I sprained my ankle on May 20. I went to the doctor had x rays and it showed no breaks. I kept it in a brace for two weeks while on cruthches, and using ice and keeping it up. I started walking on it a little at a time and now on one crutch. Still some pain at times, but my ankle still swells. At night I elevate it and the next morning the swelling is gone. How long will it swell? The doctor did not tell me the stage of sprain. What can I do to make the swelling go away?

  45. I am 13 years old and at soccer pratice Thursday I jumped up and rolled my ankle bad. At that moment I just stayed there. The pain was so bad at that point I hopped off the field. I rested a few minuets then went back in. It hurt to run but could walk fine. That night it started to swell up but i could limp and it hurt to move. After 5 days it is still swollen and hurts to move. Should I see a doctor? What could be wrong with it?

  46. i had a severe left ankle sprain in February 14 2010 and I started to walk on it about 2 weeks later because i'm a college students and crutches are no fun when you have to walk almost 2 miles everyday, but anyway it was a big mistake, probably prolonged my healing, then I started doing sports ignoring the pain which was another bad idea.Regardless it took about 6 months to heal to about 80-85% great function 2 but I can tell tell its a little messed up. Now yesterday I sprained my right one its not as bad as the first timebut its got some pretty nice sized swelling so i'm not going to the doctor I'm just going to do everything i did the first time without any of the mistakes just going to stay on my back for a week and then take it slow from there. if i don't see any progress then im going to the doctor.

    The first day of the accident, if you cant tell its broken they cant tell you if anything is broken anyway either because its to much swelling. So i'm going to be patient and take care of it as best as i can till the swelling goes down.

  47. I sprained my ankle 2 days ago playing basketball. I can walk on it with a little pain but there is bruising under the ankle bone and the swelling is getting worse. I have been doing r.i.c.e. but do I need to see a doctor? How long will recovery take because I am suppose to play in the Gus Macker?

  48. Michael Pierce says:

    I sprained my ankle about six weeks ago playing basketball. I didn't do any physical activity other than walking and light jogging for about 4 weeks. About two weeks ago (four weeks of rest), I started playing basketball again. Sometimes, when I play, the swelling comes back, but it's very, very minimal. At this point, whenever I play, there's almost no swelling at all.

    I've only played basketball about three times since I injured myself, but I *do* want to get back to my previous level of activity eventually. Swelling is nonexistent when I'm doing everyday things, and is extremely subtle whenever I play basketball. The pain is entirely gone, although whenever I jump up and down, I can feel the force of the landing slightly more in my injured ankle, but nothing that I would describe as "pain."

    I would like to know whether I'm ready to really, really start playing basketball again, and, if not, when I will be. Also, a friend of mine noted that, since the injury, I seem to be a step slower than before. I would like to know whether this is because my ankle has not fully healed or because I'm a little rusty as an athlete.

    Most importantly, will my ankle ever get back to the point where it was before in terms of my leaping ability, agility, quickness, and speed, or will I always be a step slower?

  49. Michael Pierce says:

    I sprained my ankle about six weeks ago playing basketball. I didn't do any physical activity other than walking and light jogging for about 4 weeks. About two weeks ago (four weeks of rest), I started playing basketball again. Sometimes, when I play, the swelling comes back, but it's very, very minimal. At this point, whenever I play, there's almost no swelling at all.

    I've only played basketball about three times since I injured myself, but I *do* want to get back to my previous level of activity eventually. Swelling is nonexistent when I'm doing everyday things, and is extremely subtle whenever I play basketball. The pain is entirely gone, although whenever I jump up and down, I can feel the force of the landing slightly more in my injured ankle, but nothing that I would describe as "pain."

    I would like to know whether I'm ready to really, really start playing basketball again, and, if not, when I will be. Also, a friend of mine noted that, since the injury, I seem to be a step slower than before. I would like to know whether this is because my ankle has not fully healed or because I'm a little rusty as an athlete.

    Most importantly, will my ankle ever get back to the point where it was before in terms of my leaping ability, agility, quickness, and speed, or will I always be a step slower?

  50. I strained my ankle a month and a half ago and mostly let it rest but then restrained it during a soccer game a month ago. However, it only hurt to shoot or cross the ball, but it was fine to run and sprint on. Then a week ago, I sprained my ATFL and couldn't bear weight on it right after and was in a significant amount of pain. However, four hours later I was walking on it relatively pain free and two days later I could run on it and sprint on it but the localized swelling just at the ATFL area remains and it has been a week of mostly resting it. Why is it that I can run, sprint, and run on my ankle, yet it kills to shoot or cross the ball? How long does it take to heal and while it's healing can I still run and sprint on it since that doesn't hurt it?

  51. Avanish kumar says:

    I sprained my left ankle on 6 days before while jumping during running over 2-3 ft high road divider…it swelled and pained within 2-3 min of injury.I took volini as balm n cobmiflam both r painkiller.I became unable to walk for that day .but day after i can walk with some pain…After 5 days,little pain is there while pressing infected area but not while walking,sleeping…but still swelling is there n little pain…I m feeling hard at ankle like iron is inside…i am afraid of swelling n little pain n i cant fold my leg in all direction as right leg….what should i do now?

  52. i sprained my ankle for about the 10th time and it twisted super bad check out my video on youtube.com/kodywalker you can see it happen in several of the videos. but it hasnt really swollen but there is still some pain when rotating 360.

  53. 13yroldgirlpntgrd says:

    I was at a basketball game on tuesday and got tangled in between players, trying to get the ball, and i ended up twisting my ankle and falling. I got up, so everybody kept playing but it hurt bad and i tryed walking off the court. It hurt extremely when i did that and i started crying because the pain got so bad, and i ended up limping off the court, which hurt to have any movement .Next was what rmbj53 said, except for they told me to wait a week then if it still hurt to check up with orthepedics. I have a game today and wont be playing and my ankle isnt swollen i dont think so should i be better by tuesday?

  54. Hey,
    I sprained my ankle 15 days ago in a basketball game. I have been icing and elevating and trying to move it around as much as possible. However, I have very limited motion and i cannot put any weight on it yet. I have been using crutches and hopping around on my other foot for 15 days now trying to get around. I had x rays done and the orthopedic doctor I went to said there were no fractures. I am starting to get frustrated with the fact that I cannot walk without crutches still and am starting to think there was more damage to my ankle than what my doctor concluded. He said I would be out 6-8 weeks but should be walking after 1-2. Should I go back to see him? What should I do?

    • Ask your doctor for a referral for physical therapy. Being off you feet and on crutches for that amount of time is unnecessary. Once you can remove the inflammation the pain will subside and the range of motion will be increased. Generally speaking if there are no results within 2 weeks you go back for more imagining. It is also possible there is a hairline fracture. These types of fractures typically do not show up on x-ray for about 2 weeks after the injury. Start PT and then go from there. Just staying on crutches will allow the ankle to start to heal itself, however the ankle will remain unstable and the likely hood of re-injuring the ankle is higher than you will want.

  55. I rolled my ankle when my knee gave out. Probably worst sprain i ever had. That was 16 days ago. Did the rice thing.
    Everytime i went to dr. they sent me for different tests. 3 xrays,1 ct scan, 2 MRI's one without and one with contrast, and one dopplar ultrasound to check for blood clot. Most of the test were because my ankle looked really bad and also i developed a red type rash on left side of foot. Each dr. didn't know what it was. Although 3 different nurses said looks like celluitis. Finally they put me on an antibiotic 2 days ago. I still cannot put any weight on it and when i stand up the pain gets intolerable. Any comments would be appreciated.

  56. Cesar818124 says:

    I fractured my ankle playing soccer and it hurts so bad but it didn't break I DON'T understand Im using clutches but it hurts ima go to an orthopedic doctor tomorrow but it still hurts from a scale 1-10 it's a 7-8 I can't even take off my pants

    • DR. LOU says:

      DR. LOU WHAT YOU NEED IS A ICE WATER ENIMAA UP YOUR KULOO THE SWELLING WILL GO DOWN AND YOU WILL BE ABLE TO TAKE PANTS OFF NO CHARGE FOR INFO//

  57. Tommy Reyes says:

    Volleyball season starts in about 2 weeks, and I sprained my ankle 2 days ago. I'm the captain of the team and I don't think the team will do well without me. I iced it a lot and wrapped it but it's still a little swollen. Do you think I'll be back to normal by the time the season starts? I sprained my ankle by jumping and landing on someone's foot. Obviously it hurt at first, but I was able to walk on it. Any advice as soon as possible will be greatly appreciated.

  58. walking across the yard I hit a broken rake handle into the tendons of my ankle in front of the ankle bone felt like when you hit your funny bone. After the pain got better i continued to work and on ladder in about 3 hours it hurt till I could not put my weight on it and it was swollen, the pain is so severe to walk or to move my toes, it takes my breath . I have elevated and put ice on and off every 15 minutes for 2hours and now have applied sore no more warm therapy and wrapped in ace bandage.. it hurts up the back of my leg, do you think the impact tore or damage my tendon?

  59. Khaliifa says:

    I encourted a high anle sprain over christmas break around christmas eve , but even know there is still a nice amount of swelling that remains. Is this a result of me trying to come back to early and not giving it a long enough period of time to heal

  60. I've sprained my ankle before new years and I'm still feeling pain. I can't rotate it and sometimes I can put pressure on it and walk. I've got my x-ray taken and doctor says I have no fracture. Even till now I can't walk. I've been elevating my leg, wrapping it up to keep it 90 degrees, putting on a Flector patch, taking vitamin D supplements along with multivitamins and fish oil, I've gone through 2 tubes of Voltaren Gel. I'm very frustrated. I been keeping myself from living my daily life. When I walk my ankle stays slanted and stiff big toe pointing in the air. I been waiting and waiting for so long and its been 3 months already.. Is there anything else I can do?? Any suggestions?? I've read that smoking prolongs the healing process. Is that whats happening?

    HELP MEEEEE!! please?..

    Thank you!!

  61. Yeah I wanted to ask regarding HEM too. I've been recommending it to some of my friends and blog visitors for some time, because it worked for me. I'm just interested in what others think about it.

  62. hey guys im suffering the same and also it makes clicks from time to time it is very frustrating not playing sport or anything for about 1 and half years now.
    If anyone recovered from this injury please let me know how ?

  63. I sprained my ankle while playing basketball… I landed my opponents shoe. Its been 4month and Its feels like its almost recovered 100%. My only concern is I always feel an electric current everytime I tap my ankle from the ball to my 4th foot finger.

    Now I can play well like before…

    Many thanks and have a nice day:)

    • Did you get any treatment on the ankle and are you still getting this sensation. Typically when you sprain the ankle, you essentially tear and lengthen the ligaments. The bodies self defense mechanism is to lay calcium down to protect the area. problem is if not addressed this will form scar tissue. The main area typically injured is right next to or below the lateral mallelous (the bony protrusion on the side of the ankle). if the scar tissue forms in this area, it can inflame that area, which also has a nerve that runs right through the same spot. Tapping on that can cause that electric shock, very similar to banging your elbow and feeling the sensation run down the forearm into the hand.
      Dr. McNally

  64. I sprained my ankle and it hurt like a sonofabitch

  65. I tripped on the sidewalk 4 weeks ago and have a completely torn ligament ATFL, minor sprains to other ligaments (as confirmed by MRI two weeks ago). My doctor is in Europe all week and I would love a second opinion anyway on the fastest way to heal this injury. The first two weeks, I have been hobbling around in an air brace splint– mostly only around the apartment. Pain always present. After I learned my mri results, my doctor said I could use a boot or crutches or the air brace– whatever worked for me. She said if I use the air brace it will keep the muscles from atrophying. I found her advice pretty vague, and as I still wasn’t getting better, bought a boot and some crutches online. I am tired of always being in pain (usually dull, sometimes it feels well enough I can walk a block or two with the brace). Will I get better faster if I wear the boot instead of the airbrace? It feels much more supportive, and it’s not like wearing the brace for the last month has done anything for me– I am worried that I should have been wearing the boot all along.
    Been doing everything “right” otherwise– RICE, etc. Can’t do PT as I still can’t even walk. I understand you are not trying to replace the opinion of my doctor in my case, but in general, would a sprain like mine heal faster in a boot?

  66. My son has been having ankle problems for Weeks. After every football practice his ankles hurt badly and swell up. Could this be something serious? Should I take him to the doctor?

    • He more than likely has a slight soft tissue or ligament that is being aggravated every time he plays causing the swelling. I would still seek out medical help to be sure there is no further injury or underling issue, typically in something like this a few therapy treatments should get him on his way to recovery. Thanks

  67. Sir, i desperately need your advice…
    one year ago, my left foot was twisted while walking on uneven surface….the surroundings of the outward ankle were swelled minorly, but i was able to walk……i taped it up, and used anti-inflammatory cream for a while but i kept walking on that similar hilly area…
    i kept following the same routine until 3 to 4 weeks, and then my foot became as good as new..?
    now after one year, i again started facing pricking pain and some inability to bear weight on the same foot…
    i have been taking Flexitron capsules since two weeks on doc’s advice….also walking quite less
    i work as an aircraft technician in an airline, and my job is very demanding….
    please tell me some measures by which i can recover rapidly, and would also ensure that this injury never comes back….
    I’ll be really grateful to you!!

    • Ahsan,
      Sorry to hear about your ankle. Typically when you sprain an ankle there is ligament damage in the area. If the ankle was never treated properly it becomes much easier to reinjure and can often swell up with no new injury as the ankle is unstable. Are you able to see a doctor for imaging such as an x-ray or MRI of the ankle. Typically if you seek treatment to remove the scar tissue and work with ankle stabilization exercises you should be fine.
      Thanks
      Dr. McNally

      • my X-ray report suggests that the bones and joints are fine….haven’t had an MRI scan yet!!!
        and i don’t have swelling this time over….had it only when the foot had initially twisted a year ago

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