Should I Go to Urgent Care for a Sprained Ankle?

A man sits on the ground and clutches his ankle. The ankle radiates red light, indicating pain, and an X-ray image of the ankle bones is superimposed on the image.

Ankle injuries are common and have a variety of causes. One of the most common is a sprain, often called twisting one’s ankle. A sprain can be painful, but the good news is that this injury is treatable, and seeking help at urgent care is a great choice.

What is a Sprained Ankle?

A sprain is a common injury, and ankle sprains are the most common type. In a sprain, the ligaments in the ankle that connect bones to other bones are stretched. An ankle sprain can affect people of any age and is often caused by landing on your foot in an unusual way or rolling your foot to the side while running or walking. Ankle sprains are a common sports injury, but they can also occur with a variety of activities, including walking, hiking, or housework.

Whereas a sprain involves the stretching of tendons, a strain occurs when ligaments, which connect muscles to bones, are stretched. A fracture refers to the cracking or breaking of the bones themselves. Each type of injury is treated differently, and an urgent care provider can help diagnose and treat your injury.

Sprained Ankle Symptoms

  • Ankle pain
  • Throbbing
  • Warmth in the ankle
  • Pain when bearing weight on the ankle
  • Pain that worsens with movement
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising
  • Feeling a pop

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, please visit us at Thibodaux Regional Urgent Care – Thibodaux anytime between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Sprained Ankle Treatment

After a sprain, you can begin to treat your injury using the “RICE” protocol before coming to urgent care:

  • Rest: As much as possible, try to avoid standing or walking on your ankle. Resting the joint can help to minimize pain and prevent exacerbation of the injury.
  • Ice: Applying an ice pack to your ankle can help relieve pain and reduce swelling and inflammation in your ankle. If you do not have an ice pack, a bag of frozen peas or ice cubes will suffice.
  • Compression: If available, wrap an ACE bandage around your ankle. This will help to immobilize and stabilize your ankle, relieving discomfort and preventing further injury.
  • Elevation: The easiest way to elevate your ankle is to lie on a couch or bed and prop your ankle on a few pillows. Elevation can help to reduce swelling of the joint.

If bones have broken through the skin of your ankle, you likely have suffered a compound fracture. In this case, seeking emergency care for your injury is advisable.

What Will Urgent Care Do for a Sprained Ankle?

Treatment of your ankle will depend on the type of injury, your age, and your provider’s findings after a careful examination. Your provider will test your ankle’s range of motion, assess for tenderness, and order an X-ray to differentiate between a fracture and a sprain.

An ankle fracture is commonly stabilized with a brace or cast. For a sprain, your provider may use a wrap or splint. We will give you instructions for taking care of your injury, including continuing the RICE protocol of rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Recovery time for a sprained ankle varies, but symptoms typically resolve after 10 to 12 weeks.

If you need urgent care for sprained ankle treatment, visit us at Thibodaux Regional Urgent Care.

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