Properly Treating A Sprained Ankle
Ankle sprains occur when the ligament in your ankle is over stretched and as a result becomes torn. Most often times, the sprained ankle does occur in sports related activities but it can occur in normal everyday life as well.
It affects thousands of people each year and can disrupt daily life while going through treatment. Understanding the signs and treatment is the key to getting back on your feet quickly.
First of all you need to understand the symptoms or signs of an ankle sprain. Your ankle will be painful and tender; there will be swelling and bruising, inability to bear weight on the injured foot, and stiffness of the joint.
If you have any of these symptoms it is important that you make a doctor’s appointment to be sure it’s just a sprain and not a complete break.
Once you have done this you can begin with your treatment by using the RICE technique. The Rice Technique consists of rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Rest – The rest portion of this treatment consists of plenty of rest and protection from getting bumped to the injured area.
Ice – While resting your ankle you will want to apply ice to the affected ankle to help reduce swelling. You will want to do this for no longer than half hour intervals with an hour break between.
This will help prevent you from getting frostbite and causing tissue damage. Ice needs to be applied in this manner for the first 48 hours.
Compression – Compression is done by using an ace bandage. This will also help reduce the swelling to the injured ankle. You need to be sure though that the wrap is not too tight.
This can cause more pain and cut off circulation. A good sign that it is too tight is if your ankle starts throbbing more than usual.
Elevate – Finally the elevation portion of the RICE treatment involves placing your injured ankle in an elevated position which should be higher than your heart.
This along with the ice and compression will aide in the reduction of swelling and pain.
Sometimes in combination with the RICE treatment your doctor will prescribe crutches. This is usually done in the Grade 2 and 3 ankle sprains.
You will also want to take an anti inflammatory, such as Ibuprofen, to assist in the swelling reduction. This will also lessen the pain. You can take an Ibuprofen every 4 to 6 hours as needed.
Once you have performed the rice technique and other treatments as prescribed by your physician for at least 48 hours you can begin with light weight bearing as tolerated.
While doing this you can perform mild exercises to strengthen the ligament. You need to be careful in performing these though so that you will not cause further injury.