Foot & Ankle Center

Posts Tagged ‘ankle sprain’

Do You Twist Your Ankle A Lot?

Do you feel like you’ve had more than your share of ankle sprains? Do you twist your ankle a lot, even when you’re simply walking? While a sprained ankle is very common among athletes, few patients understand that your ankle, once sprained, actually becomes increasingly prone to a future sprain. Further, repeated ankle sprains can lead to a persistent condition known as “chronic ankle instability,” which can also lead to ankle arthritis later in life

iStock_000012644456XSmallThe doctors at the Foot & Ankle Center of Washington are specialists in the effective treatment of unstable ankles, whether you are an athlete, an every-day walker, or a “weekend warrior” who plays sports as time allows.

A minor twist on an uneven surface, or a major fall while running, can lead to a painful sprained ankle. While regularly occurring ankle sprains can lead to unstable ankles, it is also true that unstable ankles can lead to regular sprains. The question becomes, “Which came first, the ankle sprains or the ankle instability that caused the sprains?” Only your podiatrist knows for sure.

What causes ankle instability?

Essentially, a sprained ankle is caused by the over-stretching, partial tearing, or complete tearing of the ligaments in your ankle. Without proper treatment and time to heal, these ligaments and the surrounding muscles will remain weak and prone to repeated injury. If you sprain your ankle again, and again, your ankle will continue to weaken and will increase the risk that you will develop chronic ankle instability.

What are the symptoms of chronic ankle instability?

The symptoms of chronic instability are similar to those of a sprained ankle:

  • Sharp pain in your ankle when bearing your weight
  • You feel a constant “dull ache” in your ankle
  • Your ankle is swollen and feels tender
  • Your ankle feels stiff and inflexible
  • Your ankle feels unstable when standing, walking, or running
  • You sprain your ankle regularly when walking or playing sports

Best treatment for ankle instability

The most recent research shows that the best treatment for unstable ankles includes a three-pronged approach to improve ankle strength and stability, as well as improved support of your foot.

  1. Protect the ankle from further injury – Using prescription ankle supports, we will protect your ankle from further injury until you regain ankle strength and balance.
  2. Improve your balance to reduce the risk of re-injury – The typical treatment for a sprained ankle will emphasize simple strengthening exercises. However, research shows that focusing on improved balance is more effective than strength exercises.
  3. Custom foot orthotics – An increasing number of studies demonstrate that chronic ankle instability decreases substantially with the use of custom foot orthotics.

Seattle podiatrist specializes in the treatment of ankle instability

If you have a tendency to sprain your ankles, or fear that you may have unstable ankles, make an appointment with your Seattle podiatrist today at the Foot & Ankle Center of Washington.


Is my ankle fractured?

It seems like a no-brainer doesn’t it? If you have a broken ankle you should know it. And yet, we regularly see patients in our Seattle foot and ankle clinic who ask us, “Is my ankle fractured or is it sprained?” Surprisingly, our answer is sometimes, “Both,” for while many mistake a broken ankle for an ankle sprain, even more do not realize that both can take place at once – in the same ankle.

ankle sprainThe podiatrists at the Foot & Ankle Center of Washington are nationally recognized experts in foot biomechanics and the treatments of foot and ankle fractures. If you are unsure whether you are suffering from a sprain or fracture, make an appointment today for a proper diagnosis and effective treatment.

Is it an ankle fracture or ankle sprain?

A fracture is, of course, a break in the bone; it may be either a partial break or a complete break. The severity of the fracture is dependent upon the type and location of the break. Ankle sprains on the other hand are injuries to the ligaments surrounding the ankle. Sprains are very common, especially among athletes, joggers, tennis players, and many “Weekend Warriors.” Many patients confuse the pain of an ankle fracture with a sprain, hoping for the best.

The symptoms of a broken ankle will include:

  • Pain, often debilitating pain, at the location of the break. In some patients the pain may extend from all way from the foot to the knee.
  • Bruising at the location of the break, which is going to develop soon after the injury.
  • Significant swelling at the location of the break or, perhaps, running the length of the injured leg.
  • Your ankles certainly won’t look the same, as you’ll quickly notice, with the broken ankle looking “different” from the other.
  • Compound fracture – is the bone protruding through the skin. If you see bone, get to the emergency room immediately!

Not every ankle fracture is debilitating. In fact, a surprising number of patients with less severe, or partial, breaks are able to walk. The fact that you are able to handle the pain and continue walking should not be the determining factor in whether or not you seek medical attention. Even a sprained ankle, if left untreated, can lead to long-term problems, such as unstable ankles.

Standard operating procedure for a possible ankle fracture is R.I.C.E.

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

Followed As Soon As Possible (ASAP) by a visit to your podiatrist. If you live in the Seattle area, make an appointment with your Seattle podiatrist today at the Foot & Ankle Center of Washington.

Ankle Sprain Seattle

A sprained ankle is the result of an injury to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. It is the most common injury in sports. Especially if you’ve recently become more active, as so many do at the beginning of the New Year, an ankle sprain is very common. The Foot & Ankle Center of Washington is the preferred choice for referrals for ankle sprain Seattle.

While most people treat a sprained ankle casually, it is in fact a serious condition, not to be taken lightly. There are estimates in the medical literature that 70% to 80% of athletes who’ve suffered an ankle sprain will also suffer a recurrent sprain. In fact, approximately 20% to 40% of ankle sprain patients will actually develop chronic ankle instability, or multiple recurring sprains, after an initial ankle sprain.

Because of the possible long-term effects of ankle sprain, when you call for an appointment, we will try to get you in to see us right away. Please make sure you let our receptionist know you have an ankle sprain, and we will usually be able to see you within one business day.

If you’ve recently suffered an ankle sprain it is highly recommended you see a podiatrist as soon as possible. If you live in the Seattle area, you should make an appointment today. If you live outside the Washington state area, or cannot get in to see us right away, we have made available a 4-step plan which outlines our Home Remedies for Ankle Sprain.

If you would like to visit a podiatrist outside of Washington, we have made available a list of recommended podiatrists for you here.

At the Foot & Ankle Center of Washington we take ankle sprain seriously because we do not want your condition to become chronic. We will do everything within our power to see you and treat your ankle sprain immediately. Simply explain to our receptionist that you have an ankle sprain when you call for an appointment to see Dr. Hale or Dr. Huppin.

Treatment for Foot Pain in the New Year

It’s a new year and you’ve finally made a resolution to live pain free, from your feet to the top of your head. Good for you, because living in pain is not necessary, and we’re here to help you find the best treatment for foot pain.

Some of the most common problems this time of year are…

Ankle Sprain

Winter sports or the resolution to lose weight can be hazardous for foot health. If you’ve recently taken up jogging to lose weight, or basketball or skiing for the fun of it, an ankle sprain is likely to be the most common injury you experience. The most common reason for recurring ankle sprain is mistreatment of the initial injury. Proper treatment includes immobilization, reduction of swelling, and re-strengthening of the muscles which support the ankle.  Read more about treating ankle sprains, including home treatment hints.

Ball of foot pain

Surgery is very rarely required for ball of foot pain. The symptoms can nearly always be relieved with conservative, non-invasive treatments. Shoe fit is critical to successful treatment for ball of foot pain, so you should bring a couple of pairs of your favorites with you when you come to us for treatment of this condition.  Read more


A bunion, or enlargement of the joint of the big toe, can be incredibly painful, especially when walking, jogging, or running. This condition can be greatly exacerbated by a New Year’s resolution to lose weight as you become more physically active. Successful treatment however, will rarely require surgery. Proper shoe fit, custom orthotics, shoe padding, and more can be done to relieve bunion pain and make your resolution achievable.   Download our free bunion report, 10 Secrets to Relieve Bunion Pain

Heel and Arch Pain

Plantar fasciitis and heel spurs are the most common cause of heel and arch pain. The Foot & Ankle Center of Washington, and our Seattle Heel Pain Center, has become the referral center of first choice for even the most stubborn and difficult heel pain problems. Doctors Hale and Huppin have become recognized experts in the effective treatment of heel pain, as well as treatment for foot pain in general – without surgery.

Ingrown Toenails

Easy peazy…we trim the nail for you! Well, it’s not quite that simple. However, trimming the ingrown portion of the nail, sometimes to the cuticle, is the effective treatment. We can usually accomplish this treatment without pain by using a local anesthetic. Due to the risk of infection which can result from ingrown toenails, we make it a priority to see patients immediately. If you have an ingrown nail, contact us today for an appointment. Let us know you have an ingrown toenail and we will squeeze you into our schedule right away.

If your resolution for the New Year is to finally live pain free, let us help you begin the process by finding your best treatment for foot painContact us today for an appointment to help you begin the New Year without foot pain.

The Best Walking Boots for a Sprained Ankle

Our new Guide to the Best Walking Boots in now live on our website.  This guide discusses the best type of walking boot for a number of foot and ankle problems.  One of those is ankle sprain.

An ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments on the outside of your ankle. Sprained ankles occur most commonly during  sports. Studies indicate that 70% to 80% of athletes who suffer from an ankle sprain will suffer a recurrent sprain. Approximately 20% to 40% of patients develop chronic instability or multiple recurring sprains after they have experienced an ankle sprain.

There is a high incidence of residual ankle instability because most ankle sprains are not treated properly. In most cases, a patient brought to a medical facility is evaluated for a fracture. When this is ruled out, follow-up care often does not include the rehabilitation of injury to the ligaments of the ankle.

At the Foot and Ankle Center of Washington, we provide our patients suffering from ankle sprain, with a plan of immobilization that involves using removable casts and ankle braces. Bearing weight on your ankle will help heal torn ends of ligament and restore your ankle to its most stable position. Additionally, our doctors and physical therapists will work with you on methods that will help decrease the swelling that comes with the injury. We will also help you learn and perform specialized exercises that will help you regain balance and proprioception. Research has proven that the restoration of balance and posture is an important aspect of preventing future ankle sprains.

Our patients at the Foot and Ankle Center of Washington are asked to wear a medical walking boot for two weeks following an ankle sprain. They are usually provided with a tall walking boot because a short walking boots have not been shown to provide adequate ankle protection. Although a pneumatic boot can also be used for an ankle sprain, the less expensive regular tall boot should work fine in helping with the treatment of an ankle sprain.

We also suggest shoes that have exceptional all-around support that will help prevent future ankle sprains. We will recommend appropriate shoes for your foot type and a list of shoe stores that have personnel who have been trained in proper fitting. We also provide ankle braces for patients who prefer these devices. We recommend the Darco Gel Ankle Brace or the Stromgren Double Strap Ankle Brace, both of which are available at

Mistreated ankle sprains can lead to long term problems. If you have sprained your ankle or are experiencing ankle sprain symptoms call today for an evaluation in our convenient Seattle office.

How Long Does it Take to Heal a Sprained Ankle?

“How long does it take to heal a sprained ankle?” is one of the most common questions we get in our practice.  The reason is that most ankle sprains are not treated correctly and thus usually do not heal as fast as they should.  In fact, every week we see people still experiencing pain from an ankle sprain three, six, nine and even 12 months after the injury.

Contrary to popular belief, ankle sprains are a serious injury.   Studies show that over 50% of patients who sprain their ankle one time, develop a condition called “chronic ankle instability” where they sprain it multiple times.  And multiple ankle sprains can lead to arthritis of the ankle joint.

Fotunately, however, there has been a tremendous amount of research on ankle sprains and there are very effective ways to treat ankle sprains, prevent future problems and get you back to full activity.  Even months or years after an injury, proper rehabilitation has been shown to work extremely well.

So how long does it take to heal an ankle sprain?   In general, from the time we start treatment, we can have people back to exercise activity wearing an ankle brace in about 4 weeks.   They will wear an ankle brace during exercise and sports for 4 – 12 weeks depending on how their rehab goes.

Details on proper ankle sprain treatment is available here.

We highly recommend that you see a sports medicine podiatrist to treat your ankle.  Ankle sprains can cause pain for a very long time if not treated correctly, so it is in your best interest to see a professional.  If you are in the Seattle area you can make an appointment to see us to treat your ankle sprain.  If you are outside of the Seattle area, you may find someone near you on our list of podiatrists.

If you cannot see a podiatrist right away, you can find home treatment recommendations for ankle sprains here.

You are not alone if your ankle sprain is taking a long time to heal.  In fact, unless you have had proper treatment, it is normal for ankle sprains not to heal.  But don’t worry – when treated correctly, ankle sprains will heal.  Use the links above to learn more and then see a sports medicine podiatrist.  You’ll be back to full activity soon.

Ankle Brace Review – Podiatrist Recommended for Sprains

Podiatrist Recommended Ankle Brace

Our Recommended Ankle Brace

So, you have sprained your ankle.  What do you do now?  First, if possible, see a podiatrist or orthopedist.  If you can’t see one right away, follow the ankle sprain instructions here, and get yourself an ankle brace right away.  You should wear it for at least a month following an ankle sprain so that your torn ligaments heal in the best position.  Failure to wear an ankle brace has been shown to lead to recurrent sprains and long term joint damage.

There are many ankle braces on the market and it can be confusing trying to find the best one for your ankle sprain.  Over the past 20 years we have reviewed many ankle braces for patients in our Seattle foot and ankle clinic.  Some we found were uncomfortable.  Others did not provide enough ankle support.   A number of studies have shown that the best ankle braces have the following features:

  • Completely stop “inversion” and “eversion” of the ankle (in and out motion)
  • Allows normal ankle flexion (up and down motion)
  • Provides a little compression
  • Easy to put on
  • Fits well in shoes
  • Comfortable

Our recommended ankle brace, and the one we usually recommend as the best for our patients, is the Ossur Exoform Ankle Brace.

This brace has an injection molded exoskeleton with soft breathable fabric, combining the compression and comfort of a soft ankle brace with the support offered by rigid ankle braces.

Testing shows that this Exoform Ankle Brace reduces ankle inversion by as much as 35% over the leading rigid ankle braces.  This means that it offers more protection for your injured ankle ligaments.

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