Badly sprained my left foot five weeks ago.

by Julie

I tripped over a Chinese rug and nearly passed out. I went to the hospital after a week of keeping my foot raised and not putting any weight on it. I plunged it into cold water every two hours and strapped it with crepe bandage. It swelled like a barrage balloon the next morning.

I had three x rays at hospital and was told that it wasn't broken but badly sprained and to keep off it a further two weeks. They strapped it up forcing my toes towards my leg and told me to keep that on for three days. I continued to do RICE and kept off it for a further four weeks as it was still swollen and bruised by the heel and along the side of foot by the ankle was extremely tender.

It was tender to touch along the top of the foot also where thee was yellow bruising and a smarting sensation by the heel. I also continued to spray it with arnica which helped with the swelling. In the last week I have put the water jets on in the bath as this was not possible before as the foot was too tender. I can move my toes and move it backwards and forwards but the heel is still swollen and bruised slightly, although this is less so.

I have also been using warm water treatment in the last week and this seems to help it considerably and also lightly massaging it with arnica oil.

My concern is should I put weight on it now and ease myself into walking properly as it has been five weeks? I have managed to do slight exercises with the foot and I can move my toes freely and move the foot up and down and to the side. My concern is that it is still swollen by the heel and I am still experiencing a smarting almost like someone is pricking my foot with a needle sensation on occasion by the heel. It is still slightly swollen by the ankle also.

The photograph is of my foot three days after spraining my foot and before the bruising came out by the heel and at the side of the foot.I would say it has reduced by 80%. When it is not in a raised position it goes red and starts swelling on top of the foot and towards the toes.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards

That's a beauty, Julie!

I think you can probably safely assume there's nothing broken. Xrays of ankles are notoriously difficult; if you are still concerned you'll have to ask for a CT. But probably three different radiologists, if one was concerned he would already have recommended a scan.

You're doing the right things but it was obviously a very bad injury. It's obviously improving, albeit slowly.

My main concern is that after five weeks you are still getting sharp stabs; that probably means you have subluxated one of the ankle joints, probably the subtalar is down by the heel.

It's very important you make the ankle move now, preferably non weight bearing. Do the alphabet exercises you'll find at Chiropractic Help regularly.

If you continue to have those sharp stabs then start looking for a chiropractor who works with feet. Take the xrays with you. Probably best to keep using a crutch.

Get rid of the Chinese carpet!

I hope this contributes.

Dr B

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Aug 29, 2018
Recovery Update
by: Anonymous

Having recently received a comment after my original statement back in 2015, I thought I would give an update on my recovery.

I massaged my foot religiously everyday to reduce the scar tissue and moved my foot in accordance to the alphabet. I continued to have the water jets on in the bath and this eased the pain considerably in the latter weeks before seeing a doctor at week 6. He informed me that it was now time to start walking on the foot. I went home and eased myself into this as it was extremely stiff. When I first put weight onto the foot I felt sick and had tremendous pins and needles. After two weeks of sitting on a chair and bringing my foot back towards the chair because believe it or not this was impossible to begin with, I took the plunge and stood on it. It appeared to be fine and I could walk up the stairs with ease. However, after a day of just periodically walking it swelled from the foot right up to the knee and remained like that for two days. I went to a physio therapist at week 9 and a half and he put me through my paces, doing exercises and told me to only slightly bear weight onto the foot. I am not going to lie but it hurt like hell. With the help of crutches I walked everyday but again only putting partial weight onto the foot. I had several sessions with the physio who told me what to do at home and to have a regime where I walked everyday and a little bit further everyday.

After three and a half months I could drive, but my foot was still weak and it dithered on the clutch, so I couldn't go long distances as it ached. It took five months before I was confident enough to drive a fair distance.

I suppose it took eight months to walk anywhere near like before and it took over 12 months to walk without any pain whatsoever. It is now over three years and I can walk extremely well. I took it very slowly and I am grateful for doing that, and of course the massaging helped with scar tissue. My knee aches some days and I was told this may be normal after such an injury but it is very rare.

The body is a wonderful thing if you give it time to heal, and with a serious injury you cannot rush or be in patient. I feel very lucky, that I haven't really got any side effects, not yet anyway. My advice to anyone is give your injury time to heal and you will reap the rewards for your patience. Rush it and you will live to regret it.

Dr. Barrie Lewis Dr. Barrie Lewis

Hello Julie,
I've been wondering what progress you continue to have. Injuries like this sometimes leave their mark on you. Keep up the range of motion exercises daily and watch your weight. The loss of activity over that time often tends to add on pounds and that would be disastrous for your foot and ankle.

Keep well.

Aug 29, 2018
Sprained ankle response
by: Anonymous

If it still hurts I would ask the Dr. About CRPS/RSD. I sprained my ankle and was in pt for 5 months with it getting worse. I Was diagnosed with crps. Good luck.

Dr. Barrie Lewis Dr. Barrie Lewis

The C stands for complex and it certainly is all of that.

May 18, 2015
Badly sprained left foot.
by: Anonymous

Thank you for your comments. Yes, it was a simple action that has cost me five weeks of my life so far, made worse by living on your own. I have had the Chinese rung for 24 years and I have never tripped over it in all that time.

Thank you so much for your advice. It is much better but I am still concerned that it is swollen round the ankle. The bruising has gone on the top of the foot but the coloring round the ankle is still visible but faded considerably. I am exercising it everyday and trying to keep it raised as much as I can. I had two x rays initially and then the doctor asked for a third one to be done along the edge of the foot by the ankle. He seemed relieved that it wasn't broken.

I might just visit the doctor and see what he says but it still doesn't look like my foot and I would have thought that it would have improved a lot more by now, but as you said it was a bad sprain. Thank you for coming back to me it is much appreciated. Kind regards Julie.

Pleasure Julie, make sure it gets properly better; something like that can be the beginning of quite serious disability. Then you can't walk properly, limp, put on weight and there's a general knock on to your general health.

Dr B

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