What are Ankle Sprains:
Ankle sprains occur when ligaments connecting the foot and ankle bones overstretch or tear. These sudden injuries cause pain both at the time they occur and throughout healing process. With proper care, however, sprains can heal correctly and, in many cases, you can reduce the risk of re-injury.
When your foot lands off balance by a sudden sideways motion, a twist, or a misstep, muscles give away and allow the ankle joint to move too far causing a sprain. Depending on the severity of the sprain, swelling and bruising may extend from your ankle into your foot.
Pain Control= mild to moderate sprain (RICE)
Rest the sprained ankle. Do not stand on it for at least a day or 2.
Ice the sprain as often as possible. Apply ice to the injury for 20 mins. Remove the cold pack and wait another 20 mins. Then ice again. Protect your skin by placing a bandage or thin towel between the ice and your body.
Compress the swollen ankle with an elastic bandage.
Elevate the sprained ankle above your heart level.
If damaged or pain is severe, your doctor may tape, splint, or cast the sprain. Once immobilized, the torn tissues can rest and heal in the proper position. You may need to use crutches temporarily if foot cannot support weight. In some cases, a sprain may completely tear a ligament or pull it away from the bone. This type of injury may require surgery. After surgery, your foot will be placed in a cast to ensure proper healing.
Depending on the severity of the sprain, your ankle may hurt for a month or more. Once healing is well under way, however, your doctor may suggest exercises to strengthen the ankle if swelling results, ice and elevation can help control it.
Exercise Your Ankle
Talk with your doctor before starting to exercise your ankle.Sit on the ground with injured ankle in front of you. Bend other leg. Place an elastic band or tubing around the foot of the ankle you sprained. Slowly point and relax toes.
Protect Your Feet
- High-topped, lace up shoes for extra stability
- Cushioned insoles if you walk or run on pavement
- Avoid tripping
- Vary directions of route to avoid overusing muscles. Stretch before and after exercise