Physical Therapy

Signs you need an Ankle Doctor

There are some types of pain people get used to and simply decide to live with. However, when pain reaches a point when it is chronic, living with the condition is never a good option. Chronic pain in the ankle or worsening pain after an injury are key signs you need to see an ankle doctor.

Most people assume an ankle injury is just a harmless strain. This is often the case, especially if you roll over on an ankle or trip. However, it is also possible for what seems like a sprain to be something much more serious, perhaps a fracture.

Normal Experience

Even if you think you “just” have a sprain, it is important to realize this is a tearing of ligaments that hold your ankle stable and straight. The most frequent type of strain is to the outside or lateral ligament, which causes the foot to roll or twist inwards.

You may not need to see an ankle doctor immediately, especially if there is limited pain, very little swelling and bruising, and there is no difficulty in bearing weight carefully on the foot.

Your ankle doctor can perform x-rays to make sure there is no damage to the bones of the ankle or the foot. Depending on the location of the pain, the ankle doctor may also have an MRI performed to make sure there is no cartilage damage if this is a concern based on the area of the pain.

Treatment includes icing the ankle, elevating the leg, and using a compression wrap to stabilize the joint and rest the ligament. Physical therapy and limited activities will typically be required for a few weeks.

Unusual Signs

If you don’t go to an ankle doctor but try a home remedy for what you believe to be a sprain, it is critical to watch for specific issues. Signs and symptoms of concern include:

 * Extreme swelling that is not reduced with icing and elevation after 2 days

 * Pain increasing or remaining, even when resting the ankle

 * Inability to bear weight on the foot

 * The ankle is hot to the touch, or the pain radiates up or down from the joint

 * Any signs of open injuries on the ankle, related to the ankle twist or sprain

 * Pain or inability to move the toes

If you have any concerns, getting checked by an ankle doctor is always the best step. It can rule out the risk of any more severe injuries, or allow them to be diagnosed and treated early.

If you need to see an ankle doctor, Suburban Orthopaedics can help. To learn more about our facility, or to see our doctors, go to

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