Caring For A Sprained Ankle
A sprained ankle is never enjoyable. It is painful and depending on who you are, can be very annoying. Knowing how to properly care for your sprained ankle is the key to the shortest amount of healing time.
First of all it is very important to make sure you did not break your ankle. You can do this at home by attempting to wiggle your toes, if you can then it’s a sprain, if you can’t then you broke it. Either way you will need to get it diagnosed by a doctor first.
Once you have gotten the diagnosis from the doctor that you definitely did break your ankle, you will need to learn how to care for it. Doctors will usually give you a list of instructions based on the level of sprain that you have. It is very important to follow these instructions.
First of all you will need to rest your ankle. Keep your foot elevated for at least 48 hours. This elevation should be slightly higher than your heart to help reduce the swelling.
Feel free to use a few pillows to achieve this height.
This step may be hard for some, especially for those out there that are living on their own, but this step is very important. You must stay off your ankle as much as possible.
Next you will need to apply ice. Most doctors suggest that you apply it for a half hour at a time with an hour off. This will prevent burning of the skin. Other doctors suggest that you alternate between ice and heat.
The problem with heat though is it will not relieve the swelling where the ice will.
Next you can take pain relievers for any pain. Your doctor may have also prescribed a pain pill depending on your level of sprain. You need to take these as prescribed, and do not take more than you need to.
You can also alternate Tylenol with Ibuprofen every 2-3 hours depending on your pain but you must not exceed the recommended dose per day.
Use an elastic ACE bandage to help keep your ankle semi mobile. You can do this on your own by starting at the base of the foot and working it around the ankle. You need to make sure you do not make it too tight. If your ankle starts throbbing, that is usually an indication that it’s too tight.
Once the swelling has gone down in your ankle, you can then try to apply heat. Moist heat is the most recommended as it seeps into the ankle and helps it heal a lot faster.
After a couple of days of heat treatment, you can begin to slowly bear weight on your ankle. Do this only as tolerated to prevent further damage.