Foot Sprain: Causes, Prevention and Treatment for Sprained Foot

Sprains are among the most common injuries affecting different types joints of the body. Foot sprains are quite common. We use our feet to walk, run, and do certain fun activities. It is a type of injury that a lot of athletes suffer from. But of course, even non-athletes can get sprained simply by walking.

You can blame a number of things why this scenario happens. Uneven surfaces, wrong shoes or simply you aren’t paying attention where you are walking; these are just some common reasons to get sprained.

Sprain means that you have stretched your ligaments. Though it isn’t always serious, it is always important to immobilize the affected part of the body for quite some time. For athletes, this can be detrimental to their progress.

The most common type of foot sprain is an ankle sprain. It occurs on the lateral side of the ankle. Because of constant movements required for humans, it becomes a common scenario to have the ankle twist underneath the leg. This is called inversion.

Diagnosis is fairly easy. After inversion, swelling and pain in the affected area are usually experienced by the patient. But of course, there could be a few complications. For instance, there could be fractures or tear on the ligaments. In most cases though, sprains do not require MRI. Fortunately, most of these injuries heal after a few weeks without any type of invasive surgery.

Risks of foot sprain


There are different movements that are risky to sprains. Sports that require jumping, running and lateral movements are just some of the more usual suspects. In terms of anatomy, there are individuals who are more prone to getting sprain. For instance, individuals with hindfoot varus are more vulnerable to experiencing sprains. This is a condition wherein the heels are slightly turned down and inside.

Instability of the lower leg is also another reason why people experience sprains. Peroneal muscles that run on the side of the ankle provide stability for walking, running and other types of movements. With underdeveloped peroneals, it’s easier for the ankles to turn and get sprained.

Initial Interventions to treat foot sprain

The immediate goal of treating foot sprain is to minimize the swelling and pain. The first thing that should be done is to first evaluate the severity of the foot sprain. This gives you an idea if it has to be brought to the doctor for further assessment or not. Next, it is imperative to immobilize and rest the affected leg. During the first 24 hours, ice and cold compress is required to minimize the swelling in the area. For the next 48 hours, it is then switched to warm compress. Most sprains heal in a few weeks with no intervention needed.

Prevention and other forms of treatment

Sprains are fairly easy to treat and prevent. Aside from cold and warm compress, there are other means on how to prevent and hasten the recovery of your sprained ankle. By following these tips, you can even end up having better mobility and stability.

Strength and conditioning

One of the reasons why athletes undergo a separate strength and conditioning regimen aside from training for their sport is to avoid injuries.

How exactly does it work? Developed muscles allow athletes to avoid imbalances that can cause sprain and even the worst injuries. With the right workout, it helps the body become more stable.

But of course, different sports will require different strength and conditioning programs. For instance, there are sports that require more hip movements. With different movements required, it is important to talk to an expert to get the most benefit from these workouts. These exercises range from free weight to functional training exercises.

Know when to rest

A lot of athletes underestimate rest. Working hard can sometimes have its drawbacks if you are not working smart. Rest is just as important in order to help maintain the muscles working properly. You will need to get a solid 8 hour sleep every day especially if you are an athlete who trains regularly. Rest and the right amount of sleep keeps the mind focused on what it is supposed to do.


Is food enough to help the body recover? For most experts, they’d tell you that it isn’t! It is a good idea to invest on the right kind of supplement. This ensures that the muscle groups recover and ready for another round of workout. Among the popular supplements in the market include whey protein and branched chain amino acids. These are supplements meant to help develop muscles especially after a tiring workout.

Healthy diet


Aside from workouts and rest, a good way to avoid any kind of injuries is to eat the right kind of food. It helps the muscles develop in order to tolerate different movements required by a specific sport, or just day to day mobility. In case you get sprained, healthy food will also hasten the recovery process.

Change your shoes as prescribed by experts

If you are the type who still makes use of old worn out shoes, you are not doing yourself a favor. Make sure that you change your running shoes and your working shoes regularly. Running shoes usually have a maximum mileage wherein it’s effective. However, if you feel that it is no longer providing you with comfort, stability and support, do not hesitate to switch to a new pair.

Get the right type of shoes

A lot of times, people wear the wrong type of shoe for their feet. This can be a problem. Shoes aren’t made the same. If you will look at running shoes in the market, there are products meant for specific types of feet. Flat feet and those with high arches require special attention. Without the right kind of shoes, it is possible that they get sprained because of instability.

Warm up and stretches

Another great way to prevent injuries is to have the right type of warm up and stretches. This can help give your body an idea on what it has to do. Doing exercises without any type of warm up can lead towards injuries including sprains and even worse injuries that would require surgery.

Tape the injured foot

A good way to hasten the healing process for sprain is to make use of tapes on the affected area. When applying tapes, it stabilizes the already injured part of the leg. This provides support, though it could sometimes limit mobility.

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