Our Portland-Area Podiatrists Help Patients With Painful Foot Sprains Get Back on Their Feet

holding-foot-sitting-on-couchNorthwest Extremity Specialists’ adept Portland-area podiatrists provide effective treatment for foot and ankle sprains. If you’ve suffered a painful foot sprain that hasn’t improved with at-home care, our experts can help. Contact us to schedule an appointment with a skilled podiatrist at one of our 15 convenient locations.

A foot sprain can do more than keep you off your feet for a day or two. These seemingly minor injuries can have significant consequences if left untreated or not allowed to heal correctly and completely. Here, we dive into the mechanics of a sprain, explore the risks associated with delaying treatment, and how our experienced podiatrists address sprained feet.

Inside Your Feet: Understanding a Sprain 

Your foot might not look particularly impressive from the outside, but inside is a complex structure comprised of 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons that work together to enable weight-bearing, walking, and other essential movements. The foot joints are composed of two bones connected and stabilized by tough, fibrous bands of tissue called ligaments. Stressing or overextending a foot joint can stretch or tear the ligament, resulting in a sprain. Though the signs of a sprain can vary based on the severity of the injury, common symptoms include: 

  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Limited joint movement
  • Hearing or feeling the joint “pop” when the injury occurred

Healing Minor Sprains at Home With RICE

A minor sprain—where the ligament is stretched or has small tears—that causes relatively mild symptoms often heals successfully at home with simple self-care methods like RICE:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

However, if your foot sprain symptoms don’t improve after two to three days of RICE, or you’re feeling pain directly over the bones of the injured joint or numbness in the affected foot, schedule an appointment with one of our experienced podiatrists.

Risks of Delaying or Forgoing Treatment for a Moderate to Severe Foot Sprain 

Moderate to severe foot sprains—where the ligament is partially or completely torn—require professional care. When a sprain doesn’t respond to RICE or involves more severe pain, swelling, bruising, and restricted joint mobility, it can indicate a more serious injury. Tread carefully. The worst thing you can do when you’ve sprained your foot is attempt to push through or ignore the pain, continuing to walk on your foot while it hurts, as this can lead to additional damage and long-lasting complications.

More Severe Sprains

Minor sprains can quickly become more severe with continued stress and insufficient rest. Take it easy for one to three weeks to give the injured ligament time to heal.

Additional Injuries 

Tripping, falling, landing wrong after a jump, and other actions that cause foot sprains can also result in additional injuries. In sustaining a sprain, it’s also possible to suffer stress fractures, broken bones, or tendon damage.

Increased Risk of Reinjury

Untreated sprains can weaken the affected ligaments, increasing your likelihood of sustaining the same injury again. Recurring foot sprains may result in a frustrating cycle of chronic pain and instability. 

Chronic Pain and Joint Instability 

Ignoring a foot sprain can lead to chronic discomfort and persistent pain that negatively impacts your quality of life and makes engaging in daily tasks and physical activities difficult. It can also contribute to joint instability, affecting your balance and increasing your risk of fall-related injuries.

Protect Your Podiatric Health With Prompt Treatment for Painful Foot Sprains

Our highly experienced Portland-area podiatrists help patients with foot sprains recover and return to their favorite activities. From simple physical therapy exercises to regenerative medicine, shockwave therapy, and surgery for the most severe cases, we offer a range of treatment options tailored to meet your specific needs and goals.