Maddy played youth soccer and was used to getting bumped, bruised, and stomped on during practice or competition. One day, though, she turned her foot so badly that she had to leave the game. If this has ever happened to you, you know how ankle sprains happen.

Sometimes it doesn’t take much. You could just be walking along a woodsy trail and land funny on an exposed tree root. Shoes with stiletto heels could twist you off balance on the dance floor. Even a stone on the pavement could cause you to roll the foot and overstretch the ligaments.

If you come in to Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists with a sore ankle, we will examine it to see exactly what is causing the problem. Sometimes we will discover that there is a fracture, but most often the injury will be one of these grades of sprains:

  • Grade 1 means the ligaments have been stretched too far and they could be slightly torn. You will have a little tenderness, stiffness, or swelling, but may be able to limp along on it.
  • Grade 2 means the ligament has a larger tear. There will be more pain and swelling, along with some bruising, and it will hurt a lot to walk on it.
  • Grade 3 is when the ligament is torn completely, the joint feels wobbly and unstable, there is severe pain and swelling, and you can’t put weight on it at all.

Most sprains happen when the ankle turns to the outside, damaging the ligaments on the outer part of the joint—although sometimes the opposite can happen. Whichever injury you have, you should get off the foot immediately and start RICE therapy. This includes resting the foot, icing it to reduce pain and swelling, and using compression wraps (i.e. ACE bandages) and elevation to keep fluid from collecting in the area. All sprains should be seen at our office, to make sure there is not a fracture and allow us to design the proper treatment. That’s because when this injury doesn’t heal well, you can end up with chronic problems the rest of your life, including periodic pain, an unstable joint, and further injuries.

Call (949) 364-9255 (WALK) and set up an appointment right away at our Ladera Ranch, CA office. Our foot and ankle doctors will get your ankle back in shape to get you back in the game safely.