A Foot to Stand On

How Can an Ankle Doctor Help You When an Ankle Brace Isn't Enough?

by Grace Ortiz

If you have ankle pain, you've probably tried all the common remedies. Experts suggest that people with musculoskeletal pain should treat their condition by resting, elevating their injured body part, and providing compression to the area. Ankle braces can be an excellent source of compression and stability. However, if you've worn an ankle brace for a week or longer without feeling any improvement in your pain levels, it's best to get checked out by a doctor. Here are a few things an ankle doctor can do to help you:

1. Check for sprains or fractures

When you first visit an ankle doctor or podiatrist, they will want to check for the most serious injuries first. If your ankle is swollen, you may have a fractured bone. Your podiatrist will order x-rays to check the condition of your ankle and foot bones. If nothing is broken, they will check for sprains. A podiatrist can diagnose a sprained ankle by gently manipulating your foot. If you experience sharp pain when your ankle is rolled, you may have a sprain.

2. Tape your ankle

Taping is an intervention commonly used by sports medicine doctors. It can help athletes continue to perform even while they're injured. However, taping can have benefits for non-athletic people as well. Your podiatrist will apply medical tape to your ankle in order to limit its range of motion. The tape will keep you from overextending your ankle. It will also discourage movement so your joint can rest and repair itself. Medical tape can be left on for several days. You don't need to remove the tape. Over time, it will simply fall off on its own, or your doctor will remove it at your next appointment.

3. Prescribe medical devices

If you have a broken ankle, you will need to wear a special medical boot until your bone heals. Medical boots are sometimes called walking boots. These boots are bulky and rigid in order to protect your ankle and keep it immobile. You may also be given crutches, which will help you keep your weight off your ankle while you walk. People with sprained ankles don't usually require medical boots. However, your podiatrist may prescribe an ankle splint. Splints are similar to ankle braces, but they are usually more rigid in order to provide greater support. Your podiatrist will let you know how long you need to wear your medical device. You will probably be asked to return for follow-up visits so they can monitor your ankle's healing progress.