When to Call a Foot and Ankle Specialist

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Sometimes it’s difficult know when a foot or ankle injury is serious enough for medical attention from an orthopedic specialist. As the inevitable slips, slides, and falls of winter weather approach, here are some helpful guidelines to follow so you can get the care you need when you need it.

If any of the following symptoms are present, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a foot and ankle specialist:

  • Any type of infection
  • Pain that lasts more than 72 hours
  • Swelling in one leg or foot that lasts more than 24 hours
  • Pain that increases with activity or doesn’t go away when resting or elevating legs
  • Loss of sensation or change in the color of skin
  • Development of a blister or ulcer on the foot that doesn’t heal
  • Sudden worsening of a foot deformity
  • A flattening of the arch in one or both feet

Treating Your Sprained Ankle

As one of the most common ankle injuries, it’s helpful to know treatment options for a sprained ankle. Proper care and treatment can prevent chronic pain and correct the instability that often leads to further injury.

By following the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, & Elevation) guidelines below, the swelling associated with minor sprains (also called Grade I sprains) should subside within a few days:

Rest: Limit weight-bearing activity on your ankle by using crutches. An ankle brace can help control swelling and improve stability while ligaments heal.

Ice: Ice helps minimize swelling. Put a thin piece of cloth between the ice bag and your skin and apply ice for no more than 20 minutes at a time to avoid frostbite.

Compression: Gentle, consistent compression can help control swelling and provide support as you recover.

Elevation: Recline and elevate your foot above your waistline as-needed.

For more complex Grade II sprains, follow the R.I.C.E. guidelines and allow more time for healing. Your orthopedic specialist may also immobilize or splint the ankle in Grade II sprains.

Grade III sprains are the most severe because they present risk of permanent ankle instability. Physicians may treat patients with a short leg cast or walking boot for a few weeks. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to repair damaged ligaments.

Are you suffering from a foot or ankle injury? Do you have a sprain that isn’t healing? Steindler Orthopedic Clinic’s team of physicians and physical therapist offer care that’s “a step above.” Call us at (319) 338-3606 to schedule an appointment.