Diagnosis of foot sprains
Diagnosis of a foot sprain starts with a history and physical examination. It is very important that your doctor understand the how it happened and the “mechanism of action” of the injury. After reviewing symptoms, the doctor will ask the patient to describe exactly how the foot was injured. This is very important to determine which ligaments, tendons, muscles and bones may be involved. The doctors at City Podiatry may also ask about the patient’s occupation, recreational activities, participation in sports, any previous foot trauma or foot surgery. Shoe gear may also be reviewed.
Patients will typically present with symptoms of foot sprains that vary from mild, moderate to severe. The foot can be swollen, tender, painful, and bruised. In more severe sprains, limping or inability to walk may also be observed. Call the doctors at City Podiatry if experiencing these symptoms after a sprain, especially if pain prevents bearing weight or does not subside over a day or two. In most cases a full recovery can take a few weeks to several months.
When doing a foot exam, the doctors at City Podiatry may compare the injured foot with the uninjured foot. During this exam, the doctor will note any swelling or bruising, as well as any decreases in flexibility and pain on palpation or range of motion. Your doctor also will gently press and feel your injured foot to check for tenderness or bony dislocations or abnormalities.
X-rays are usually taken to rule out any bony involvement including fracture or dislocation. Soft tissues such as ligaments and tendons can not be well visualized on xray. If xrays are normal despite a severe injury and in more severe cases an CT scan or an MRI may be ordered. These tests are much more specific for soft tissue injuries. At City Podiatry, Xrays and ultrasound can be done on site with state of the art digital technology. This allows patients to have results immediately.
Proper diagnosis is paramount to make an appropriate treatment plan. For milder midfoot sprains, initial treatment may include recommendation of “RICE therapy”. Rest. Ice the injured area to reduce swelling. Compression of the foot with an ace bandage. Elevation of the injured area.
Your doctor also may suggest that you take over the counter or prescription strength pain or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug to relieve pain and reduce bruising, inflammation and swelling.
For more severe midfoot sprains, the doctors at City Podiatry may immobilize the foot in a cast, shoe or boot. The doctor may also recommend temporarily avoiding bearing weight on the injured foot. As the injury heals, patients can gradually resume weight-bearing and other normal activities. Physical therapy is also prescribed often times. Physical therapists can aide in helping patients follow special treatment and rehabilitation regimens to ensure that the injured foot heals with a proper balance of flexibility and stability.