Do You Know How to Take Care of Your Sprained Ankle?
Ankle injuries such as sprained ankles are common among most people - with most sprained ankle injuries taking place in the home. It's important to take care of a sprained ankle right away and limit the risk that the injured limbs will swell up and cause further damage.
What is a sprained ankle?
An ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments that support the ankle caused by trauma. It occurs when you roll, twist, or awkwardly turn your ankle. It’s a common injury that happens to people of all ages. It can range from mild to severe, depending upon how much damage there is to the ligaments.
Symptoms of a sprain
Some common symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, warmth, numbness, or tingling sensation on the foot. When there has been complete tearing of the ligament, you may also experience instability of the ankle. However, if for severe sprain, the symptoms are like those of a broken bone.
How to Care for a Sprained Ankle
The treatment for ankle sprains can vary depending on the severity of the sprain. Grade 1 sprains generally don't require a long period of rest and a day or two of complete rest is enough. Grade 2 sprains may need a week or less to fully recover. Some Grade 3 sprains may need as much as three months to fully heal.
1. The first thing to do to a minor ankle sprain is the R.I.C.E. method.
• Rest - Resting your sprained ankle is imperative whether the pain subsides under the help of an ointment or pill like ibuprofen. Be careful to put weight on your injured foot as soon as possible after twisting it to avoid further damage. It is important to let it heal by giving it ample rest so you can get back to doing what you love.
• Ice -The cold helps reduce swelling making it easier for your ankle to heal. With a cold pack, you are also impairing the inflammation inside the ankle which prevents the problem from getting worse.
• Compression - Using an ankle brace can help with swelling, pain, and recovery time. The purpose of compression is to provide stability for your ankle while your body gradually heals.
• Elevate - If your ankle is sprained, you should elevate it to maintain blood flow and help resolve the swelling. Elevating the ankle above the level of the heart will keep it from getting further injury and pain.
2. Take care not to try and pile on more weight on your foot while getting treatment. It may be tempting to cut corners and try to function as though nothing is wrong but this can be extremely dangerous without proper attention and care.
3. Certain rehabilitation exercises will help in returning to normal movement and daily life without the risk of further injury. One rehab exercise is gentle inversion and rotation. It can be done with a partner or alone.
4. For a grade two sprain, your doctor may immobilize the area with a removable device such as a cast boot or brace. These devices provide support and ensure that the healing process goes as smoothly as possible.
5. For a grade three ankle sprain, your doctor may apply a cast and surgery is also a possibility.
Maintaining good muscle strength, balance, and flexibility is the best way to prevent ankle sprains and injuries. The following will also help prevent ankle sprains:
• Wear appropriate footwear.
• Regularly stretch your ankles when you wake up in the morning.
• Warm up before engaging in any physical activity.
• Pay attention when walking or running.
When you have a sprained ankle, the faster you can provide relief, the faster your recovery will be. The more easily your ankle returns to its normal position, the easier it will be for you to walk or engage in other activities. When you are dealing with an ankle sprain, remember that the steps you should do depend on its severity.