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Here’s Why Even a Mild Ankle Sprain Should Be Evaluated by an Expert

Here’s Why Even a Mild Ankle Sprain Should Be Evaluated by an Expert

Young or old, athletic or sedentary, anyone can sprain their ankle. If you have kids who play sports, or if you’re an athlete yourself, you’ve probably encountered a sprain or two. Ankle sprains are the leading reason for missed athletic participation. 

Though many ankle sprains seem comparably mild, you should never forgo an evaluation if you suspect a sprain. A brief urgent care visit includes an expert evaluation, complete with imaging tests if you need them. Taking the time to see a doctor after an ankle injury leads to a better outcome for your injury and a faster return to athletics. 

Our board-certified physicians at Westmed Family Healthcare in Westminster, Colorado, are prepared to evaluate you or your child’s ankle injury right away. We grade your sprain and put you on the right track to rehabilitation and recovery. 

Know how to recognize a possible ankle sprain so you’ll be prepared the next time it happens. 

How to tell if your ankle is sprained

You can sprain your ankle when you misstep, causing your foot to roll or twist inward or outward. Any movement of your ankle that goes beyond your joint’s range of motion can be large and forceful enough to tear one or several of the ligaments supporting it. 

The symptoms of a sprained ankle differ based on the grade of your injury:

Grade 1 

Grade 1 ankle sprains have the mildest classification. These injuries don’t cause any instability and may or may not cause much pain. You’ll almost certainly see some swelling or bruising around your injured ankle.

Grade 2 

Grade 2 ankle sprains involve the partial tear of a ligament — not just overstretching or microscopic tears like grade 1 injuries. You experience mild pain when you put your weight on your ankle, and you might have some instability. 

Grade 3 

You can’t walk on a grade 3 sprained ankle. The pain when it bears your weight is severe and your joint is unstable due to a completely torn ligament or ligaments. 

Don’t skip the doctor’s visit

Mild ankle sprains may not stop you from walking or standing, even if performing these actions is slightly uncomfortable. Some mild sprains don’t cause pain at all when you put your weight on your affected foot. Even if your only symptoms are light bruising and swelling, you should still get to an urgent care center right away so an expert can evaluate your ankle. 

What’s the worst that can happen if you avoid the doctor’s visit? When ligaments in your ankle are damaged or torn even a little bit, they’re vulnerable to additional injuries. If you return to work or sports immediately without treating and rehabilitating your ankle injury, your mild injury could evolve into a chronic ankle sprain with pain that lasts longer than 4-6 weeks. 

Chronic ankle sprains often lead to chronic ankle instability, a condition that causes your ankle to give way unexpectedly during activities or when you’re just standing still. 

To avoid chronic ankle problems stemming from an initial ankle sprain that seems mild, you should engage in personalized care from Westmed Family Healthcare. Treatment for an ankle sprain typically starts with mild care like the RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method, and you might need some physical therapy to rehabilitate your joint. 

Protecting your ankle in the future

Once you’ve treated and recovered from a sprained ankle, you won’t want to go through the process again if you can help it. While plenty of ankle injuries are unavoidable, you can prevent an ankle sprain in the future by making sure your ankles are both stable and strong. 

Our experts encourage you to:

Our team can give you and your family tips for staying safe from ankle injuries in specific sports and in everyday life. We cover topics like these during annual wellness visits and sports physicals. 

Get help for your sprained ankle without the wait

You don’t need an emergency room visit for an ankle injury. Our urgent care center has you covered. As soon as you injure your ankle, reach out to Westmed Family Healthcare online or by phone for efficient and convenient care. 

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