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Foot Sprain, Ambulatory Care

A foot sprain

is caused by a stretched or torn ligament in the foot or toe. Ligaments are tough tissues that connect bones. A foot sprain usually occurs during sports when your moves in a twist motion and your foot stays in place.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Bruising or changes in skin color
  • Inability to put weight on your foot
  • Pain, tenderness, and swelling

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Cold or numbness below the injury, such as in your toes
  • Increased pain, even after taking pain medicine
  • Bluish or pale skin on your injured foot

Treatment for a foot sprain

may include pain medicine and physical therapy. Treatment may also include a support device, such as a brace, cast, or splint. These devices limit movement and protect further injury.

Care for a foot sprain:

  • Rest to limit movement in your sprained foot for the first 2 to 3 days. Use crutches as directed to take weight off your foot while it heals.
  • Apply ice on your foot for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.
  • Compress your foot as directed with tape or an elastic bandage to support your foot. You may need a splint on your foot for support if your sprain is severe. Wear your splint for as many days as directed.
  • Elevate your foot above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your foot on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
  • Exercise your foot as directed to improve your strength and help decrease stiffness. The exercises and physical therapy can help restore strength and increase the range of motion in your foot. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to your normal activities or play sports.

Prevent another foot sprain:

  • Warm up and stretch before you exercise.
  • Do not exercise when you feel pain or are tired.
  • Wear equipment to protect yourself when you play sports.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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