Acute injuries such as fractures, strains and top of the foot sprains can occur in people of all ages. Anyone can experience a twist in the ankle, which can cause intermittent sharp pain on the top of the foot. Let’s look at how to identify each of these injuries, as well as treatment tips and options.

How Do You Determine Whether You Have a Fracture, Sprain or Strain?

The type of injury is determined by the kind of tissue that’s affected. A fracture is a break in a hard bone. But the difference between a sprain and strain isn’t always easy to detect. A sprain occurs when the ligament that attaches bones together is injured, while a strain is a tear in a tendon or muscle.

How Do You Know if You Have a Top of Foot Sprain or Strain?

Here are a few signs that you may have a strain, a sprain or top of foot injury:

  • You feel pain, weakness or tenderness around your foot or ankle
  • The injured part of your foot is bruised or swollen
  • You feel intense pain or numbness when you try to put weight on the affected foot
  • You feel cramps or your muscles tighten up on their own

How to Treat Strains and Sprains

Before you visit your doctor to examine the injury, use the proven RICE therapy as top of foot pain treatment to reduce swelling:

  1. Rest:Don’t put any weight on your injured foot and stop all activities or exercise routines. If you’re wondering, “Can I walk on a sprained foot?”, the answer is no! Refrain from walking on your foot to aid healing.
  2. Ice:Apply ice to your injury for about 20 minutes every three hours. You can use an ice pack or wrap a bag of frozen vegetables in a small towel and place it on your foot.
  3. Compression:Support your foot with a bandage. This will also reduce swelling.
  4. Elevate:Raise your foot on a pillow to reduce the flow of fluid to the affected area.

You should also avoid taking hot baths or drinking alcoholic beverages for the first two days after the injury. You may use over-the-counter medication to reduce pain.

When Should You See an Orthopedic Doctor for a Sprain, Strain or Fracture?

For a severe injury, you need to treat it as an emergency and see your doctor immediately. For less severe cases with minimal swelling and pain, you should apply RICE first for a couple of days and then consult your physician. If you have a sports injury, you should consult your doctor for treatment right away.

What Type of Physical Therapy Is Needed for a Sprain or Strain?

Not all sprains or strains require physical therapy. In most cases, exercises and basic joint movements can improve the speed of healing. Therapy is particularly useful when you experience weakness or stiffness at the area of the injury. Therapy also helps increase muscle strength and range of motion at the joint.

What’s the Recovery Time for a Sprain or Strain?

In most cases, fractures, sprains and strains will heal within 6 to 12 weeks, depending on the severity and how well you follow the instructions of your doctor and therapist. Joint injuries usually take about three months to heal, while those outside the joint may heal within six weeks.

Treating a Strained or Sprained Top of the Foot

If you have a sprain, strain or intense pain in your foot, then give us a call now. You can speak to one of our highly skilled orthopedic surgeons who will answer all your questions in a way that you can easily understand. We’re waiting to receive you and treat you like a member of our family.