Treatment of Foot and Ankle
Sprains occur when a joint is twisted while bearing some weight. Many people are familiar with rolling, twisting, or spraining an ankle. This is often caused by stepping or falling off of a higher platform, like a sidewalk.
Sprains can also occur at the knee from pivoting, at the wrist from falls, and from accidents or collisions. Sprains can occur at any joint and result in the ligaments becoming stretched. A sprain can range from mild to severe. In severe cases, the ligament can actually rupture, causing tissue damage and complete instability of the joint.
Strains are caused when too much force is placed on a muscle. They often occur during weight-bearing activities that stretch the muscle. Repetitive motions, overusing a muscle, or working beyond your physical ability may cause a strain. Strains are also known as pulled muscles and can range from mild, with minimal tear, to severe, with significant tearing. Acute strains happen after a one-time incident. Chronic strains are caused by repetitive activity.
Risk Factors of Sprains and Strains
You are more at risk for sprains and strains if you:
have a current or prior injury to the muscles or joints
have limited flexibility
engage in physical activity beyond your ability
fail to properly warm up before strenuous physical activity
Symptoms of Sprains and Strains
Sprains are usually noticeable when they occur. But sometimes a minor sprain will happen without your noticing. The primary symptoms of sprains include limited mobility, inflammation, pain, swelling, and bruising. You might hear a popping noise at the time of injury.
Strains are often accompanied by pain, cramping, swelling, muscle spasms, and stiffness or soreness in the muscle. As with sprains, you may be aware of the exact movement or activity that created the strain, or you may notice symptoms only later.
Diagnosing Sprains and Strains
To diagnose sprains and strains, your doctor will look at the impacted area and ask questions about the injury or accident. Your doctor might take an X-ray of the area to ensure that there are no broken or chipped bones. Usually, you will be sent home with an at-home treatment and a care plan.
Treating Sprains and Strains
For these types of injuries, you will need to follow the RICE treatment (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Over-the-counter pain medication can also be used to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Topical creams and gels may also help decrease pain and facilitate healing. For severe injuries, you might be required to wrap the joint or wear a soft cast. A doctor may recommend physical therapy to rehabilitate and strengthen the affected area.
Other treatment options for sprains and strains include massage, chiropractic treatment, and acupuncture. In rare cases, surgery may be required to repair damaged tissues.
Both sprains and strains can limit physical ability until they heal. Be sure to use caution and protect your body, especially the joints, until you are fully healed. Once the sprain or strain is healed, return to physical activity carefully. Even though you feel better, the tissues might not be completely healed or as stable as they once were.
RIVERA FOOT & ANKLE: At Orlando H.Rivera DPM, our priority is to deliver quality care to informed patients in a comfortable and convenient setting. When you have problems with your feet, you need to turn to a podiatrist who listens and responds… an experienced doctor who knows the field and can effectively diagnose and treat your needs… a friendly physician who counsels you on the best ways to maintain and improve your health. Our physician(s) meet all these criteria. Plus, you benefit from a dedicated team of trained professionals who give you the individualized attention you deserve.
Treatment of Foot and Ankle.
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