As fall sports heat up for kids, so do 5Ks, marathons, and golf tournaments for adults, leading to ankle sprains for athletes of all ages. “Both serious athletes and weekend warriors often underestimate how serious a sprain can be, and they rush back into action without taking time to rehabilitate the injury properly,” says Dan Michaels, DPM. “While no one enjoys being sidelined from the physical activities they love, quickly diagnosing and treating an ankle injury expedites the healing process. It also reduces the chances of long-term, chronic ankle pain.”
Most ankle injuries require no surgical intervention, according to Dr. Michaels, who stresses that foot and ankle surgeons will always choose the most conservative treatment for the best long-term outcomes. In addition to rest, ice, compression, and elevation, (also known as RICE) doctors may also recommend physical therapy to promote healing and range of motion, as well as NSAIDs to reduce pain and inflammation. In more severe cases, or in cases where the injury was initially neglected, surgery may be required to repair the damaged ligaments. The foot and ankle surgeon will select the procedure best suited to the type and severity of the injury.