A foot or ankle sprain happens when the soft tissue in the foot or ankle is damaged in some way. Sprains typically happen when the ligaments connecting the bones are pulled or stretched beyond their limit. Sprains are completely different from fractures, as a fracture is an actual break in the bone.
Most of the time, foot and ankle sprains or fractures occur because of injuries, strain, or accidents. This can include sports injuries, accidents like trip and falls, and repetitive stress from sports like running.
Pain is the most notable symptoms of foot and ankle injuries like sprains and fractures. Many people also experience swelling and bruising in the foot and ankle area with this type of injury. If walking is painful, the chances are high that a sprain or fracture is the problem.
If a foot or ankle injury is suspected, it is important to stay off the foot as much as possible. Any type of stress on the foot can aggravate the injury and make it much worse. Applying ice can help for the short term, but an appointment with the podiatrist should be made right away if the symptoms don't go away quickly.
There are several things that the podiatrist can do to help when a patient has a foot or ankle injury. Compression may be used, along with an immobilization device like a boot. If there is a fracture, the podiatrist may need to make an adjustment to help the bones line up properly again. In some cases, surgical repair may be the best solution for the more serious foot and ankle problems.