See an Ankle Sprain Specialist in Chattanooga
Get the right medical attention for your ankle sprain. Our podiatrist welcomes English- and Spanish-speaking patients in and out of Chattanooga. Book your visit now.
Your ankle sprain will be treated by Dr. Maria Pacheco, DPM, who has almost a decade of experience in helping people recover from ankle sprains. Throughout her practice, she has seen countless cases of ankle sprains. She and our team at Chattanooga Foot & Ankle Clinic will help you get better.
Dr. Pacheco is certified by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine. She is also certified in Foot Surgery by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.
In addition, our medical team truly cares for our patients. We help you recover quickly so that you can go back to your sports and daily activities.
Get to know your podiatrist in Chattanooga.
Dr. Maria Pacheco
“Everything that I have heard bout Dr. Pacheco is true – she is professional and very kind and interested in your condition!”
Ankle Sprain: Your Condition Explained
An ankle sprain is a condition where the ligaments in the ankle are stretched beyond the normal range of motion.
Ligaments are strong bands of tissue that hold bones together and stabilize the joints. When you roll, twist, or turn your ankle in an awkward or unnatural position, the ligaments stretch beyond their limits. As a result, they get tears in the tissue fibers. Some tears are tiny, while others are deep.
The most common ligaments involved in a sprained ankle are:
- The anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL)
- The calcaneal fibular ligament (CFL)
- The posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL)
Ankle sprains fall into three different categories, depending on the damage to the ligaments.
Grade 1 Sprain (Mild)
- The ligaments stretched slightly outside of their normal range of motion, resulting in microscopic tears
- The ankle has mild tenderness and swelling, but it’s still stable
- You may experience mild pain and stiffness
Grade 2 Sprain (Moderate)
- The ligaments are partially torn
- The ankle is swollen
- The ankle isn’t fully stable; if it’s moved in certain ways, the ankle feels loose
- You may experience moderate pain and can’t move the ankle as much
Grade 3 Sprain (Severe)
- One or more ligaments are completely torn
- The ankle is significantly swollen and unstable
- The pain is severe
- You can’t move the ankle at all
Depending on the grade of your sprained ankle, the severity of the symptoms would differ.
- Tenderness to the touch
- Instability of ankle
- Limited mobility
Some people report that they hear a “pop” at the time of the injury. This is likely the sound of the tearing of the ligaments.
A patient may sprain their ankle when they:
- Step on an uneven surface
- Step their foot the wrong way while they’re walking or running
- Move their foot the wrong way when they’re playing sports or if someone else steps on their foot
Some people are more likely to get a sprained ankle, including individuals who:
- Play sports
- Wear high heels
- Experienced a sprained ankle before
- Have balance problems
- Have a high-arched foot, which is much easier to twist
When to See a Doctor
Sprained ankles are quickly identified because they are common injuries. However, we recommend seeing our podiatrist to if:
- The sprained ankle has no signs of improvement a few days after the injury
- You experience significant pain or extreme bruising or swelling
- You can’t put weight on the injured foot without bothersome pain
In some cases, the damage is not limited to the ankle ligaments. There might be torn tendons and small bone fractures that require medical attention.
Dr. Pacheco may perform the following to provide a complete diagnosis:
- Physical Examination. Our podiatrist examines your foot, notes the level of swelling and bruises, and presses around the ankle to identify the torn ligaments. She may also move the ankle to assess the extent of the damage.
- X-Rays. In some cases, X-rays are needed to rule out fractures.
Your treatment depends on the grade of your sprained ankle. Please note that these treatment methods are for informational purposes only; they don’t constitute medical advice. Book a consultation with Dr. Pacheco to get an official treatment plan for your sprain.
The good news is that ankle sprains almost always heal, and patients return to their normal routines in a matter of time.
For mild sprains (Grades I and II), our podiatrist may prescribe the RICE Protocol.
- R – Rest your ankle. You may be advised not to walk on the injured foot until you can do so comfortably. You may need crutches, ankle braces, and other devices.
- I – Ice the area to alleviate the swelling. Cold temperature helps reduce the redness, warmth, and inflammation. Don’t put the ice directly on the skin. Instead, place the ice in an ice bag and press it onto the affected area for about 20 to 30 minutes. Any longer might cause frostbites.
- C – Compress the area to further control swelling and immobilize the ankle. Use compression dressings, bandages, or ace wraps.
- E – Elevate the ankle above the level of your heart, especially during the first two days of the injury. This drains the excess fluid from the site of the injury and helps control swelling.
Some sprains need more treatment, apart from the RICE Protocol.
- Medication. Our foot doctor may prescribe medication to help with the pain and swelling.
- Devices. Dr. Pacheco may require you to use crutches, so you won’t stress the injured ankle as it heals. Moreover, your sprain may need ankle braces to provide support and protect the ankle from sudden movements.
- Physical Therapy. Our physician may prescribe physical therapy to prevent chronic ankle problems and improve ankle strength.
Ankle sprains rarely need surgical interventions. This treatment is usually applied to serious injuries that didn’t respond to non-surgical treatments. But a vast majority of ankle sprains heal without surgery.
Should your case require surgery, Dr. Pacheco will explain the procedure in detail.
Once you’ve experienced an ankle sprain, you’re more likely to get another sprain. To prevent this painful condition:
- Exercise Regularly. Regular exercise and stretches keep ankles flexible.
- Warm Up before Sports. A warm-up expands the blood vessels, which ensures your muscles are well-supplied with oxygen and makes them more flexible.
- Move in Moderation. Don’t overdo your exercises, workout sessions, or sports. This makes you more prone to injuries.
- Wear the Right Shoes. Choose footwear that provides comfort and the right amount of support for the activity.
Find Out the Right Treatment for Your Ankle Sprain
Do you need special devices, or will home remedies work? Find out by visiting Dr. Pacheco today.
About Our Chattanooga Clinic
Years of Experience
Feedback from the people we have had the privilege to help:
"She truly care for her patients! Dr. Pacheco takes her time with each patient, as if she has all day! She is very thorough in her work, always has a smile on her face!!"
If she had not diagnosed my Charcot Foot, hospital would have sent me home. I could not walk and my bones were breaking. Thanking God for sending her our way.
"Awesome staff and doctor. They take time time and care for their patients. To explain to you they way that you understand"
Dr. Pacheco is always professional. She is knowledgeable, friendly, and explains things in a way the average patient can understand.
Dr. Pacheco is an intelligent and understanding doctor. She improved my problem in a short amount of time. She is very nice and friendly.
Years of Experience
9 Years of Experience treating foot and ankle ailments of all types
We look forward to helping you next!
Our clinic has a relaxed and comfortable environment, where you can be at ease. We recognize how stressful limited mobility can be. Chattanooga Foot & Ankle Clinic offers a convenient and safe place where you can start your recovery.
Advice for Patients
Our team continuously studies developments in foot and ankle disorders to provide our patients with adequate medical care. Moreover, we assess all aspects of your health, not just your torn ligaments.
Rehabilitation of Foot and Ankle
Dr. Pacheco and our team create an effective treatment plant to fast-track your recovery. We explain the treatment in detail and monitor your recovery closely. Our goal is fast rehabilitation, so you can go back to living your best life.
Empathy for Our Patients’ Condition
Ankle sprains are common, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get less attention from our medical team. Regardless of the condition, our clinic makes every patient feel that they’re heard. We uphold compassion and kindness to everyone.
Recover from Your Sprain Today
Schedule your appointment, so your foot and ankle can start healing.