Treating Ankle Sprains and Strains
Ankle sprains and strains are two of the most common injuries we treat here at Kalamazoo Podiatry. They can happen in the spur of the moment (an acute injury) or be a chronic problem that has been causing symptoms for weeks or months at a stretch.
Regardless of how you injured yourself, though, prompt treatment from a professional is an extremely wise precaution. Far too many people try to take treatment into their own hands, and this can often make matters much worse.
We want to help you heal thoroughly while getting rid of the pain as quickly as possible. Recovery can take several weeks to several months depending on the severity of an injury, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay in pain.
Using personalized treatment plans, we help each patient regain strength, stability, and mobility through the highest quality of care.
You might have an ankle sprain or strain if you experience swelling and tenderness, loss of mobility, pain when standing or resting, and struggle to put weight on the affected limb.
But how do you know the difference between each one, and how do you treat them?
Our guide is here to help you get all the answers.
What is the Difference Between a Sprain and a Strain?
While they both cause similar types of pain, an ankle sprain and strain differ in what part of your ankle they affect.
- An ankle strain results in a stretch or tear in the tendons that connect your muscles to your bones.
- An ankle sprain stretches or tears a ligament, the thick tissue that connects bones to each other and to joints. Ankle sprains are of course the most well-known and common, but you can sprain almost any joint—knees, toes, etc.
Both types of injuries can be either acute or chronic, though sprains are generally more likely to be a “sudden” injury (from a specific fall, twisting motion, hyperextension, etc.), while strains are more evenly split between those caused by sudden trauma and those caused by repetitive overuse over time.
Either way, symptoms can include things like pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty moving the joint. Some strains may also be associated with muscle weakness, spasms, and cramping.
If you experience either one of these injuries, the best treatment option will depend on how severe your sprain or strain is. Doctors diagnose the severity using a grading system.
Grades of Strains
The peroneal tendons are often affected in ankle strains. They help stabilize your ankle and foot to protect them from sprains; when they are injured from a sudden event or through overuse, you can experience a strain that causes pain, swelling, tenderness, and even a loss of mobility.
- Grade 1: Mild injury to the tendon(s) with minimal swelling; there is little to no loss of function and mobility.
- Grade 2: Moderate injury to the tendon(s) that leads to swelling, tenderness, and pain when applying weight to the injury. Mobility and range of motion can be affected.
- Grade 3: Severe tendon tear that results in intense pain, swelling, possible bruising, and loss of mobility. This is the most severe type of injury that often requires surgery to repair.
What About for a Sprained Ankle?
An ankle sprain affects the ligaments instead of the tendons in your ankle. It’s often caused by a sudden fall or twist whereas strains tend to be more often caused by overuse. Ankle sprains also have a grading scale similar to the one used for strains.
A sprain can be mild and treatable at home, moderate and require more intervention, or severe and need surgery or months of rehabilitation to fully recover.
The Importance of Taking Your Injury Seriously
You should always treat your ankle injury right away, even if you think it’s mild. Although you can manage a lot of symptoms at home, it’s also possible for sprains or strains to become worse without the right care.
Our podiatrist can assess your ankle injury and offer guidance on how to help it heal. This also includes a timeline of what to expect and suggestions on what types of activities to avoid to help prevent further injuring your ankle.
How Do We Treat Each Condition?
Kalamazoo Podiatry takes a personal approach to every patient’s care. While we follow the clinical gold standards for treatment, we also realize that every person is unique, and their injury needs individualized care.
We treat strains through a brief assessment followed by a care plan. Common treatment includes the RICE method (Rest, ice, compression, and elevation).
We may also recommend some over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and physical therapy to stabilize and strengthen the tendons.
In moderate to severe cases, a brace might be worn to stop your foot from overextending and worsening your injury. We might also discuss surgical interventions for severe strains or chronic injuries that are unresponsive to other forms of treatment.
We’ll assess your ankle injury first, then look at your lifestyle and determine any modifications that you might have to make to help your injury heal.
For example, if you’re an athletic person that enjoys running or sports, we’ll suggest modifications or alternative activities to perform until your ankle is stable.
We may also recommend a temporary brace or cast to keep the ankle stable and allow it to heal.
Additional treatment options include two state-of-the-art treatments: MLS laser therapy and Magnetolith therapy.
Cutting Edge Care
We are thrilled to offer our patients advanced treatment options for ankle sprains and strains. These highly powerful devices are painless, effective, and 100% safe, all offered in the comfort of our office.
MLS Laser Therapy
Using specific energy waves to penetrate the deep layers of tissue and trigger your body’s natural healing response, MLS laser therapy works wonders! We fine-tune factors like frequency, pulse rate, and wavelength to deliver a customized pain treatment that can provide rapid relief and faster healing.
Over a few weeks, you can experience a wide range of benefits like improved circulation and tissue regeneration. MLS therapy can reduce the amount of time it takes a sprain or strain to heal by up to 50%.
Magnetolith (EMTT) Therapy
Extracorporeal Magnetic Transduction Therapy (EMTT) is an FDA-approved treatment for a wide range of conditions. It can help accelerate the healing process by stimulating blood flood, improving nutrient absorption, and reducing inflammation.
There is no direct skin contact required; instead, the Magnetolith system uses the same technology as an MRI to deliver a high-frequency magnetic field to the affected area.
Our holistic approach to treatment means that we help patients build personalized care plans that suit their lifestyles, health, and preferences.
Some of the options we suggest for treating sprains and strains may include:
- The RICE method
- Activity modification
- Physical therapy
- Stabilization devices/braces
- Over-the-counter pain relief
- Prescription medication or injections in moderation
- Surgery for severe cases
Contact Us Today
Our team is here to help you heal. If you have a sprain or strain, don’t wait another day to get the care you deserve. We’ll talk with you in detail about your condition, the pros and cons of each treatment option, timelines, and any other information you might need to make an informed decision about your care.
But remember, to give yourself the best possible chance at a quick and successful treatment—and minimize your risk of longer-term complications—you need to see your podiatrist as soon as possible after your injury.
The earlier you see us, the greater variety of effective treatment options we’ll be able to provide, and the more choice and flexibility you’ll have with your care.
Please contact us today to schedule an appointment at our office. We look forward to treating you.
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