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Sprained ankle, experiencing pins and needles in foot. Foot feels cold and turns blue. Noticed swelling. Normal?

Jul 2013
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Answered by

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Joint Replacement
Practicing since : 1996
Answered : 2148 Questions
I sprained my ankle a week ago. The doctor described it as a type 2 to 3 sprain. I have started experiencing pins and needles in my foot. My foot also feels more cold than the other quite often and the toes sometimes look a light blue, purple. My mid calf also feels like I have a tight band around it.
I have been resting my foot and elevating it as often as possible but the moment I put my foot down in a normal sitting position it feels like my foot is "filling up" almost like I can feel it swelling up. Is this normal?
Thank you
Posted Wed, 31 Jul 2013 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 40 minutes later
Hi, thanks for writing to XXXXXXX
A grade 2 or 3 sprain involving the ankle joint is not a simple injury (atleast in my opinion). The ankle joint is one among the few joints in the body kept in position by number of ligaments maintaining the integrity and stability as this joint bears the total weight of our body.

Feeling of pins and needles is a normal finding in these injuries. But feeling of coldness in the toes along with discoloration is not a good sign. It implies that there is some disturbance in the blood supply to the toes and needs immediate attention. If your limb is immobilised in a cast, loosen it a bit so as to allow the blood to flow freely.

Feeling of "filling up" of foot is also normal finding while in sitting position because the venous blood will pool up in the dependent parts due to the effect of gravity.

As you relatively young (only 37yrs), I suggest you to undergo an MRI scan of ankle joint to determine the severity of ligament damage. This is because, inadequately treated ankle sprains will result in ankle instability which inturn leads to ankle joint arthritis over a period of time resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness and disability.

Hope I have addressed your issues. Happy to help for any more clarifications.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Sprained ankle, experiencing pins and needles in foot. Foot feels cold and turns blue. Noticed swelling. Normal? 15 minutes later
I am not in a cast, I was given a tuby grip to put on but I have found this to be very uncomfortable this last day or so and my foot swells around the edge of it and becomes painful.
I have started to do rehab exercises and I am finding this helpful in respect of the swelling. I was advised to do this by the Dr at a&e, but I was not given any formal instruction or advised about any follow up or watch out for any warning signs.
Do you think I should make an appointment to see my local Dr?

Thank you again
Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 18 minutes later
Hi, I appreciate your prompt feed back.
Let me put some bare facts infront of you -
The injured ligaments will only heal when they are given proper rest in the form of RIGID immobilization for atleast 3-4 weeks. And I dont think that the tubigrip will provide rigid immobilization. Even the slightest movements occuring at the ankle joint will keep the frayed ends of the ligament apart thereby hindering the healing process. So i feel that cast is a better option than tubi grip.

Also tubigrip is not advisable for Grade 2 or 3 ankle sprains. The overtight pressure exerted by the tubigrip around your ankle might be causing the foot to swell and is usually due to stasis of venous blood.

Its always better to consult your treating doctor and discuss the issues.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Sprained ankle, experiencing pins and needles in foot. Foot feels cold and turns blue. Noticed swelling. Normal? 23 minutes later
Thank you, I shall make an appointment. I appreciate your help

Answered by Dr. K. Naga Ravi Prasad 33 minutes later
I welcome your appraisal.
Feel free to ask any query in orthopedics. Good luck
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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