Sprained Ankle? Why Diabetics Should Seek Professional Foot Care

Joint sprains can be painful and debilitating at the best of times, and a sprained ankle can be particularly uncomfortable, especially if you live an active lifestyle. While many people mistakenly consider an ankle sprain to be a minor injury, it can lead to more serious problems without prompt treatment. This is especially true if you also live with type I or type II diabetes.

Why Can Ankle Sprains Be Dangerous For Diabetics?

Ligaments are tough, flexible bands of tissue that help to keep joints strong and stable. A sprain occurs when one or more of the ligaments in a joint is damaged, causing it to become painful and inflamed. 

Sprains can be minor or severe. A minor sprain simply stretches your ligament beyond its natural limits, while a severe sprain can partially or completely tear the ligament apart.

However, if the ligament does not heal on its own, or suffers a partial or complete tear, it can lead to chronic joint instability. This can be particularly debilitating if you suffer an ankle sprain, preventing you from standing, walking, and running easily on the affected ankle.

A sprained ankle may become visibly swollen and bruised, and putting any weight on the affected leg can cause severe pain. The damaged ankle may also become stiff and painful to the touch.

Diabetes can complicate the healing process because living with diabetes long-term can cause damage to the nerves and blood vessels in your feet and lower legs. This damage slows the natural healing process and may prevent even minor sprains from healing fully by themselves. You are more likely to have this type of damage if your blood sugar levels are frequently too high.

The nerve damage caused by diabetes can also dull your perception of pain in your feet and lower legs. While this may not sound like a bad thing, it can make a more severe sprain feel like a minor injury and stop you from seeking proper treatment. Walking and standing normally on a sprained ankle that doesn't seem to hurt much can cause serious, permanent damage to the joint.

What Should Diabetic People Do About Sprained Ankles?

If you live with diabetes and suspect you may have sprained your ankle, you should try to avoid putting weight on the damaged ankle as much as possible. Make an appointment at a diabetic foot care clinic, or visit a podiatrist that specializes in treating patients with diabetes.

These medical professionals will fully examine your ankle to check for signs of spraining, and will also check for fractures, arthritis, and other conditions that may be causing symptoms. Your specialists may use X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound imaging to look for signs of hidden damage.

Call a clinic like Advanced Podiatry and Wound Care if you need diabetic foot care.