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Healthy Balance

Sprained Ankle: Time To Go to the Doctor?

You’re rushing to get to a work meeting and suddenly, you step the wrong way on an uneven sidewalk and roll your ankle. It hurts, and it’s a little swollen, but you can put weight on it. You may have a sprained ankle.

sprained ankle
It only takes one misstep to get a sprained ankle.

What is a Sprained Ankle?

Sprains and strains aren’t the same thing. Strains involve muscles. Sprains involve joints and ligaments, the elements that connect two bones together. People sprain ankles more than anything else, explains Winston Gwathmey, MD, a sports medicine specialist.

“People are doing 5,000 to 10,000 steps per day,” he says. “That’s a lot of chances to take a bad step and injure your ankle.”

If you only have minor swelling and can put weight on your ankle , you may be OK after a few days of RICE — rest, ice, compression and elevation — combined with some movement. If you still have severe swelling a few days after the injury and can’t put weight on it, you should go to the doctor.

Get more information about sprained ankles, who’s at higher risk and possible treatments in this week’s podcast. Listen to the podcast:

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