Spring is sports season for many amateur athletes and weekend warriors in the Jacksonville area. It's also ankle sprain season for one area foot and ankle surgeon.
The doctors at North Florida Foot and Ankle Center say ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries they treat this time of year.
"As people emerge from their winter hibernation and start to get active again, they can injure their ankles playing sports such as basketball, baseball, tennis and soccer,"Dr. Bartell says.
Anyone who injures an ankle requires prompt medical treatment, whether it's their first sprain or their fifth. Rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E.) can reduce swelling and pain until the ankle can be evaluated and treated by a foot and ankle surgeon. A sprain may not always be a sprain; the ankle could be fractured.
Bartell notes that many athletes develop chronic ankle instability from repeated ankle sprains, causing their ankle to frequently "give way." In some cases these players may require surgery. Proper rehabilitation of an ankle sprain reduces the likelihood of developing chronic ankle instability.
Dr. Bartell shares three spring ankle sprain prevention tips from FootHealthFacts.org:
1. Perform warm-up stretches and exercises before playing sports.
2. Wear the right shoes for the sport. For example, don't wear running shoes for sports that involve a lot of side-to-side movement, such as tennis and basketball.
3. Wear an ankle brace if you're recovering from an injury or have repeatedly sprained your ankle.
FootHealthFacts.org is the consumer Web site of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS). Dr. Bartell is a member of the ACFAS and board certified in ankle and rearfoot reconstuctive surgery. Dr. 's Bartell and Ansari can be contacted at 904-236-5023.