Treating Ankle Injuries

Article featured on UCSF Health

Ankle sprains are the most common ankle injury among regular athletes and weekend warriors. The top orthopedic complaint, sprains occur in an estimated 27,000 Americans a day.

Many athletes, however, who suffer from ankle sprains tend to play right through their injury, which can lead to lifelong problems with recurring sprains, unstable joints, arthritis-like pain or other complications like tendon or cartilage damage. And the earlier in life a sprain occurs, the higher the chance of recurrence. Therefore, it’s important to properly treat initial sprains, especially in young athletes.

If you sprain your ankle and it hurts to run, you should sit out the rest of the game. Once a sprain has occurred, follow these three steps to help you recover:

Step 1: RICE

Follow the instructions represented by the acronym RICE as often as possible for three days. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression (with an elastic ankle wrap) and elevation (toes above the nose). For significantly swollen ankles or if limping persists for more than three days, you should see a doctor.

Step 2: Rehabilitation

To prevent permanent damage to the ankle, take steps to achieve better range of motion (flexibility), balance and strength. Many of these exercises can be done at home.

Range of motion exercise

Place one foot on a stairway step. Allow the back heel to stretch downward over the edge of the step. Hold each foot in this position for 30 seconds.

Balance restoration exercise

Stand on one leg with your eyes closed. Gradually build up to standing 30 seconds on each leg. Repeat three times.

Strength exercise

Lie on your side on the sofa, with the upper leg hanging over the edge. Place the top of your foot through the handles of a plastic shopping bag filled with one to two pounds of weight (one or two cans of soup). Slowly lift your toes toward the ceiling and hold for three seconds. Repeat 10 times.

Step 3: Supportive devices

When back to playing sports, previously injured athletes should probably wear an ankle brace, no matter how much they have rehabilitated their ankle or how good their sneakers. An injured ankle will never have the same support again, so a brace should be considered.

Step 4: If pain continues

For ankle pain and significant instability that persists despite adequate rehabilitation or physical therapy, you should see a doctor for further evaluation. You may have injured the cartilage or tendons in your ankle, which may require special testing.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.


The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.

Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.

Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.

If you’re looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.

Phone:
503-224-8399

Address
1515 NW 18th Ave, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97209

Hours
Monday–Friday
8:00am – 4:30pm

Everything you need to know about total ankle replacement surgery

Article Featured on OSMSBG

A total ankle replacement, also called total ankle arthroplasty, is a surgical treatment option for patients suffering from ankle pain, typically due to arthritis or injury. If this pain is impacting a patient’s quality of life or keeping them from walking comfortably, they might benefit from a total ankle arthroplasty. While lesser known than a total hip, knee or shoulder replacement, total ankle replacements are gaining popularity.

Read more

Common Foot and Ankle Injuries

Article Featured on WebMD

Ankle injuries are often thought of as sports injuries. But you don’t have to be an athlete or even a “weekend warrior” to turn your ankle and hurt it. Something as simple as walking on an uneven surface can cause a painful, debilitating sprain.

Read more

Achilles Tendinitis

Article Featured on AAOS

Achilles tendinitis is a common condition that occurs when the large tendon that runs down the back of your lower leg becomes irritated and inflamed.

Read more

Ankle sprains: What’s normal and What’s not?

Article Featured on AAOS

Ankle sprains are the most common sports injuries, with an estimated 25,000 occurring every day in the US. Sprains can happen with any sport, including just walking across the yard! Ankle sprains are most common in ball sports such as basketball, soccer, volleyball and others.

Read more