How Will A Doctor Treat A Seriously Sprained Ankle?

If you sprain your ankle mildly, you usually limp a bit for a few days, but then the pain subsides on its own. For a moderate sprain, you may need to ice the ankle and rest for a week or two. But what about a severe sprain — the kind that makes it almost impossible to walk? For this serious of a sprain, you need to see a podiatrist. Here are three key treatments they may recommend.

A Specialized Brace

If your ankle is painful but your podiatrist is sure there's no tear in the ligament, then they may simply fit you for a specialized ankle brace and have you wear it for a month or more. This brace does more than a simple wrap that you might put on at home. It prevents your ankle from bending more than a certain amount, which takes pressure off the ligaments and allow them to heal. You will probably be instructed to only remove the brace when you shower. For the first week or two, you may also be told to remove it for short periods, several times per day, in order to ice your ankle.

Cortisone Injections

If there's a mild tear in the ligament, or if your sprain does not seem to be healing in a boot, then your podiatrist may want to give you a cortisone injection. Patients can sometimes be a little intimidated by this shot, at first, since it has to be given directly in the ligament with a large needle. However, while the injection can be pretty painful, the pain only lasts a few seconds. After the cortisone injection, your ankle should start to feel better within a day or two, but it will take a few more weeks for it to heal fully.


Most ankle sprains do not require surgery. However, for the most stubborn of sprains, surgery can be a better option than waiting several years for the sprained ligaments to heal on their own. The surgeon will make an incision, often along the front of the ankle, and through the incision, they will repair the tear or stretched area in the ligament. After a few weeks of initial healing, you'll probably begin physical therapy to help speed healing and regain function in your ankle joint.

Not all sprained ankles require a doctor's care, but if yours does, the above treatments are ones to consider. For more information, contact a foot and ankle specialist in your area.