Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.
Skip to main content

Do I Need to Wear a Cast For an Ankle Sprain?

Do I Need to Wear a Cast For an Ankle Sprain?

An ankle sprain is a severe injury from sports, a fall, or simply walking incorrectly and rolling your foot. Sprained ankles vary in severity, with some being mild and others causing significant pain and complications.

Most ankle sprains require some treatment, depending on the severity of the injury. In the case of a mild sprain, you may only need some rest and ice to reduce pain and swelling – but do you also need a cast?

Dr. David Dieboldt and the Beltsville Foot and Ankle Center team are ankle and foot injury  experts. Dr. Dieboldt assesses the ankle sprain to determine the best treatment route, which may involve casting, splinting, or other noninvasive therapies.

Signs of a sprained ankle

The ankle joint comprises bones, ligaments, and tendons, all allowing the joint to move correctly. When you sprain an ankle, the ligaments that support the other structures in the joint stretch beyond their standard capacity, sometimes tearing the whole way through.

There are different grades of ankle sprains, ranging from a mild grade one sprain to a severe grade three sprain. Each type of sprain has specific symptoms, which include any of the following:

An ankle sprain makes it hard for you to bear weight on the affected foot and makes it difficult to move.

Immediate care for an ankle sprain involves resting, putting ice on the injury, and wrapping the ankle to control the swelling.

The key to an ankle sprain is getting treatment as soon as you notice a problem. Without the proper treatment, an ankle sprain can lead to chronic instability and other complications.

Is casting necessary?

If you're unsure how severe your ankle sprain is, it's essential to seek treatment from Dr. Dieboldt as soon as possible. The longer the sprain goes without treatment, the more likely you have long-lasting effects.

When you come into the office, Dr. Dieboldt assesses the ankle to determine the grade of the sprain. He may also order imaging studies to look at the structures in the ankle, which helps him assess the damage.

An ankle sprain that's moderate or severe requires expert treatment, but does that always involve casting? Not every ankle sprain requires a cast or boot unless you have a severe injury.

Most mild to moderate sprains only require an elastic wrap around the ankle or a simple brace to immobilize the joint and allow it to heal.

However, if you have a severe sprain, Dr. Dieboldt recommends a cast on the ankle for several reasons. First, walking on a severely sprained ankle is painful, which is where the cast can help. It takes the pressure off the sprain to relieve pain and help you get around while it heals.

Another reason for casting a severe sprain is to keep the ligaments immobilized as they heal. Moving the injured ligaments slows healing time and may cause further damage, where a cast can help.

You usually have to wear the cast for two to six weeks, depending on the severity of your sprain and how well your body heals.

Other treatments for a sprained ankle

Although a cast can significantly help your sprained ankle heal, you may also need other treatments for optimal recovery. Dr. Dieboldt provides several additional treatments for a sprained ankle, which include the following:

Physical therapy, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, and casting help the sprain to heal correctly. Dr. Dieboldt recommends a mix of these treatments to ensure proper joint healing.

We reserve surgery for severe sprains that don't get better with conservative treatments. However, it's sometimes necessary to improve pain, repair the torn ligaments, or fix instability problems in the ankle joint.

Call the Beltsville, Maryland office today if you have a sprained ankle or request a consultation with Dr. Dieboldt using our convenient online scheduling tool.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Does Hammertoe Require Surgery?

Hammertoes are sometimes a painful condition that makes walking and even wearing shoes difficult – but do you need surgery? Keep reading to learn more about hammertoes and when you may need surgery to fix them.
Treating Gout with Your Diet

Treating Gout with Your Diet

Living with gout can be tricky, especially when you have flares and painful big toes – but relief is possible through lifestyle changes. Keep reading to learn how to tame gout symptoms through your diet and where to start.
How is Toenail Fungus Treated?

How is Toenail Fungus Treated?

Toenail fungus is a bothersome problem that leads to thick, yellow nails; the real downer is it's very contagious. Keep reading to learn more about toenail fungus and what treatments to expect to eliminate the problem.

How Are Custom Orthotics Made?

Custom orthotics are a personalized treatment for people with foot, ankle, or leg pain from various conditions, but how do we make them? Read on to discover how custom orthotics work for long-term pain relief.
Do I Need to See a Doctor For a Sprained Ankle?

Do I Need to See a Doctor For a Sprained Ankle?

Ankle sprains can happen to anyone, from stepping off a curb incorrectly or sliding into home base at the big game, but do you need to see a doctor? Read on to discover when you should seek expert treatment for an ankle sprain.