How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

When an ankle is injured with a sprain, tendon injury, or fracture, inflammation occurs. Blood vessels become "leaky" and allow fluid to ooze into the soft tissue surrounding the joint.

When an ankle is injured with a sprain, tendon injury, or fracture, inflammation occurs. Blood vessels become "leaky" and allow fluid to ooze into the soft tissue surrounding the joint.

Ankle sprains are very common injuries. There’s a likelihood that while playing as a child or stepping on an irregular surface as an adult you sprained your ankle — some 25,000 people do it every day.

In some cases, it is an awkward minute when you lose your balance, however the pain quickly vanishes and you go on your way. But the sprain might be more severe; your ankle may swell and it might harm excessive to stand on it. If it’s a severe sprain, you might have felt a “pop” when the injury occurred.

A sprained ankle means several ligaments on the external side of your ankle were stretched or torn. If a sprain is not dealt with properly, you might have long-term problems. Usually the ankle is rolled either inward (inversion sprain) or outside (eversion sprain). Inversion sprains cause pain along the outer side of the ankle and are the most common type. Pain along the inner side of the ankle may represent a more major injury to the tendons or to the ligaments that support the arch and must constantly be evaluated by a doctor.

You’re most likely to sprain your ankle when you have your toes on the ground and heel up (plantar flexion). This position puts your ankle’s ligaments under tension, making them susceptible. An abrupt force like landing on an unequal surface might turn your ankle inward (inversion). When this takes place, one, two or 3 of your ligaments may be injured.

A sprain can be tough to distinguish from a fracture (damaged bone) without an x-ray. If you are unable to bear weight after this kind of injury, or if there is considerable swelling or deformity, you need to look for medical treatment from a doctor (MD or DO). This may be your medical care physician or pediatrician, an emergency situation department, or an orthopaedist, depending on the intensity of the injury.

Tell your doctor what you were doing when you sprained your ankle. She or he will examine it and may want an x-ray to make sure no bones are broken. A lot of ankle sprains do not require surgery, and small sprains are best treated with a functional rehab program. Depending on the number of ligaments are injured, your sprain will be categorized as Stage I, II or III.

Treatment for Sprained Ankle

Treating your sprained ankle properly may prevent chronic pain and instability. For a Grade I sprain, follow the R.I.C.E. guidelines:

  • Rest your ankle by not walking on it. Limitation weight bearing. Use crutches if essential; if there is no fracture you are safe to put some weight on the leg. An ankle brace typically helps control swelling and adds stability while the ligaments are recovery.
  • Ice it to keep down the swelling. Do not put ice directly on the skin (use a thin piece of fabric such as a pillow case in between the ice bag and the skin) and don’t ice more than 20 minutes at a time to avoid frost bite.
  • Compression can help manage swelling along with immobilize and support your injury.
  • Elevate┬áthe foot by reclining and propping it up above the waist or heart as required.

Swelling generally goes down with a few days.

For a Grade II sprain, follow the R.I.C.E. standards and permit more time for recovery. A doctor may debilitate or splint your sprained ankle.

A Grade III sprain puts you at risk for long-term ankle instability. Seldom, surgery might be had to fix the damage, especially in competitive athletes. For severe ankle sprains, your doctor may likewise consider treating you with a short leg cast for 2 to 3 weeks or a walking boot. People who sprain their ankle consistently may likewise require surgical repair to tighten their ligaments.

Recovery for Sprained Ankle

Every ligament injury requires rehabilitation. Otherwise, your sprained ankle may not heal completely and you might re-injure it. All ankle sprains, from moderate to severe, need 3 stages of recovery:

  • Stage I includes resting, protecting and minimizing swelling of your hurt ankle.
  • Stage II includes restoring your ankle’s flexibility, variety of movement and strength.
  • Stage III includes gradually returning to straight-ahead activity and doing upkeep exercises, followed later on by more cutting sports such as tennis, basketball or football.

When you can base on your ankle once again, your doctor will prescribe exercise routines to strengthen your muscles and ligaments and increase your flexibility, balance and coordination. Later, you may walk, jog and run figure eights with your ankle taped or in a helpful ankle brace.

It’s important to complete the rehabilitation program due to the fact that it makes it less likely that you’ll harm the exact same ankle once again. If you don’t total rehab, you might suffer chronic pain, instability and arthritis in your ankle. If your ankle still harms, it could mean that the sprained ligament has actually not healed right, or that some other injury likewise took place.

To prevent future sprained ankles, take notice of your body’s indication to decrease when you feel pain or fatigue, and remain in shape with good muscle balance, versatility and strength in your soft tissues.


Last modified: May 13, 2018

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