The Ins and Outs of a Foot Sprain
The foot is a fairly complicated structure, with each foot consisting of 28 bones, 30 joints, and over 100 ligaments, tendons, and muscles. Usually, these structures work together to provide support and balance during motion and in standing.
Yet, like most structures in the body, the ligaments in the foot may become damaged through activity or excessive stress. This often occurs during a twisting motion of the foot during contact sports, gymnastics, or running. And individuals with flat feet or low arches may be more at a risk of a foot sprain due to long-term stressed placed on the foot and a lack of support.
The result? The cartilage and connective tissue in the foot become damaged. This is known as a foot sprain.
Foot Sprain Symptoms & Severity
A foot sprain may involve immediate pain when the injury occurs. In some cases, a lingering pain may arise and worsen during standing, jumping, or running. Frequently, the area is tender. Any pressure placed on the injured spot may also cause pain.
Similar to sprains, a foot sprain varies in severity. A Grade I foot sprain is merely a stretching of the ligaments. A Grade II foot sprain may involve a partial tear or more severe stretching. And a Grade III foot sprain is where the ligaments are completely torn. In this more severe case, a person may not be able to bear weight and the foot or certain bones in the foot may appear unstable.
If the pain is more severe, consult with a sports specialist or medical professional. They may decide to perform image testing to properly diagnose your injury, as well as eliminate other possible sources of your pain. For instance, a foot fracture may present similar symptoms to that of a foot sprain.
Proper Care for Your Foot Sprain
If the pain is mild, you may choose to care for the sprain at home. Take a break from activities, especially activities causing pain. And use crutches as needed. These precautions may also be undertaken after consulting with a sports specialist.
A specialist may further recommend taping of the foot or a brace to protect the foot and tissues from further damage. Ice is also an important tool that may aid in reducing pain and swelling while your foot sprain heals.
In addition, massage therapy, specifically cross friction techniques, may help during the acute phase of healing. Such techniques promote blood flow to the area and may speed up the recovery phase. If you choose to visit a massage therapist, such as our experienced and registered massage therapists at Athlete’s Choice Massage, ensure you communicate with your therapist about recent injuries.
Rest is also critical during this acute stage. As the foot heals, strengthening and stretching exercises can be introduced. Gradually, you’ll be able to return to your regular activities and increase the intensity and duration over time.
Lastly, orthotics may benefit those with low arches or flat feet. These inserts can help limit the stressed placed on the foot that may lead to recurring foot sprains.
Many minor to moderate foot sprains heal within a month. For more severe or complicated cases, it may take up to 6-8 weeks or more. The most important piece is to be patient and allow time for your body to heal properly. This way, you’ll be able to return to your regular activities free of pain and without fear of a recurring problem.
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About Athlete’s Choice Massage
Athlete’s Choice Massage is a modern massage studio. Since opening in 2016, Athlete’s Choice Massage has become an active part of the Edmonton and Sherwood Park community. Our experienced registered massage therapists set the highest standards in massage treatments. With massage therapy being covered by many people’s extended health care benefits, it is now easier than ever to experience the positive effects of therapeutic massage.