Treating the Ankle After a Sprain

by Mel on June 2, 2015

Many of us seem to worry about our back or our knees going out as we age. What should be focused on more is the ankle sprain, as it is viewed as the “common cold” of musculoskeletal injuries. If you want to live an active lifestyle, it becomes very difficult to avoid.

Ankle SprainThe sprained ankle is the most common injury in sports, and yet our understanding of it is only now coming into focus. Sprains cause more damage than we once thought they did, and we can do a lot more to prevent them from happening.

A sprain is a tear that occurs in the outer supportive ligaments of the ankle. As these ligaments are stretched, a critical point is reached beyond which ligaments do not return to their normal elastic function and the tear of occurs. Sprains can range from the relatively minor to completely torn ligaments where the ankle can be quite loose.

The common diagnosis for pain on the outer side of the ankle is an inversion sprain. This usually occurs when the foot lands in an awkward manner and rolls inwards, creating stress on the outside ligaments. When the stress is severe enough, an ankle sprain occurs.

Treatment

If you are unable to put weight on your ankle, you may have suffered a small fracture. It is best to take all precautions and get it x-rayed. However, if you feel like you simply rolled over the ankle and putting weight on it hurts only slightly, apply the “RICE” method (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) immediately. Avoid walking on it as much as possible. Fill a wet thin towel with crushed ice or with a bag of frozen peas, and apply to the painful area for about 10-15 minutes. Do not apply ice directly to your skin for more than 5 minutes as it can cause cold-burns. Keep this up every 2-3 hours for the first 48 hours after the sprain. This will help to minimize pain and control swelling in the area, limiting the extent of damage to the ankle.

For the ligaments to heal, the ankle should be immobilized with either a cast or a boot. For minor sprains a brace can be applied to the ankle. Make sure the brace is tight enough to stop the swelling from going down into your ankle but not tight enough to make your toes turn blue. Remember to take it off at night but put it back on before you leave your bed. Keep your foot elevated at night by placing pillows underneath the affected foot to give you just enough elevation to sleep pain-free. Foot pumping exercises (continuously bending and pointing your foot out) are also useful when the foot is elevated to help push the fluid away from you and back to your heart. Strictly adhere to the RICE regimen for another 2-3 days or until the swelling is about 75% gone.

Preventing Reoccurrences

To minimize the reoccurrence of another ankle sprain, consider the following:

  • Warm up before you exercise or play sports.
  • Be careful when walking, running or working on an uneven surface.
  • Wear shoes that fit well and are made for your activity.
  • Don’t wear high-heeled shoes.
  • Maintain good muscle strength and flexibility.
  • Practice stability training, including balance exercises.
  • Use a brace to limit the movement of the ankle towards a sprain.

If these precautions are used next time you participate in sports or by simply being careful next time you walk, you likely will minimize the chances of you sustaining another injury to one of the most injured ligaments in the body!

Mel

Mel

Health Contributor at Creative Bioscience
I always look forward to expressive my passions in life to others and helping people make lasting changes. I live a busy life like the rest of us with kids, work, and everything else that can get in the way. Making time for exercise, and making good decisions about what we eat can often be a challenge. We sometimes lack the motivation and momentum to make lasting changes in our lives. I've been fortunate enough to really get my life in order and have some simple strategies to help you do the same. Mel's favorite product is Garcinia Cambogia 1234
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