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What to Do When You Have an Ankle Sprain

Here's how to effectively treat your sprained ankle.

Sprained ankles are incredibly common. Our Reston, Ashburn, Fairfax, McLean, VA, podiatrists have seen and treated sprained ankles in everyone from young children to seniors. An ankle sprain happens when ligaments in the ankle are overstretched or torn. While a mild sprain may be easily treated with rest and home care, it’s also important to recognize when your sprained ankle may be more severe and require professional medical attention.

Start with RICE

If you are only dealing with minor pain, swelling, or stiffness in the ankle you can often treat the problem from the comfort of your own home using the RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method. It’s important to follow this protocol immediately after injury,

  • Rest: Make sure that you stay off your ankle as much as possible. Avoid any movements that could make symptoms worse. The more you can stay off your injured ankle the better.

  • Ice: Ice is an easy way to keep pain and swelling down while the stretched or torn ligaments heal. Make sure to wrap an ice pack in a towel and then apply to the ankle 2-3 times a day for no more than 20 minutes at a time. Make sure to always apply a towel around an ice pack and to never place ice directly on the skin, which can cause serious burns.

  • Compression: You can easily find compression bandages and wraps at your local drugstore that can help to provide stability and support to the ankle. If you have questions or concerns about applying a compression bandage to your ankle, you can always ask our Fairfax, VA, podiatrist to show you.

  • Elevation: It’s also important that you elevate your injured ankle above your heart whenever you are resting (which should be the majority of the day). Elevating your ankle can help to reduce swelling and inflammation.

Know When to See a Podiatrist

While a sprained ankle is rarely an emergency situation, it’s important that you know when to visit your podiatrist. After all, more severe sprains can lead to chronic pain and ankle instability if it’s not properly treated. You should visit us for an evaluation if you are experiencing any of these symptoms,

  • Severe pain or swelling
  • An ankle that is tender to the touch
  • You heard a popping sound at the moment of injury
  • You are unable to put weight on the ankle
  • There is a visible deformity of the ankle
  • You notice numbness, weakness, or tingling in the ankle or foot
  • You also have diabetes or nerve damage in your feet

If you are dealing with an ankle sprain it’s important that you have a podiatrist that can provide you with the care you need to get back on your feet.

At Family Foot and Ankle Center, we are proud to provide care to the Fairfax, Ashburn, McLean, and Reston, VA, area. To schedule an appointment, please call (703) 273-9818, (703) 723-9267, (703) 556-8637 or (703) 723-2719.


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McLean, VA Office

Monday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:30 am-3:30 pm

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9:00 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

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9:00 am-5:00 pm

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Ashburn, VA Office

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9:00 am-5:00 pm

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7:30 am-3:30 pm

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7:30 am-3:30 pm

Friday:

7:30 am-3:00 pm

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Closed

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Fairfax, VA Office

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9:00 am-5:00 pm

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9:00 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:30 am-1:00 pm

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9:00 am-5:00 pm

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8:30 am-2:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

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Closed

Reston, VA Office

Monday:

7:30 am-3:30 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-4:00 pm

Wednesday:

7:30 am-3:30 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed