Our ankles have a limited range of movement, but that small range of motion gives us the amazing ability to walk and run. Because we use them so often, our ankles are likely to get injured.
In particular, an ankle sprain is a common injury that occurs when the ligaments in your ankle are overstretched or torn. It frequently happens in sports or when someone trips or walks on an uneven surface. Just stepping down the wrong way can cause your foot to turn and cause a sprained ankle.
Let’s talk about some of the best methods to use when healing from a sprained ankle, and who you can see for a medical evaluation and treatment.
Recovering from a Sprained Ankle
Most sprains are mild to moderate in severity and will often heal on their own. However, if a sprain is becoming more painful, swollen, or red (which can indicate an infection), see a doctor for an evaluation.
Here are a few tips for a fast recovery from a mild ankle sprain – the RICE method (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) plus medication:
Similar to other injuries, resting the foot and ankle is key. Do not put weight or pressure on the sprained ankle in order to avoid pain, discomfort, and further swelling.
Doctors will recommend not to walk on that foot until the sprain has healed. You may opt to use crutches, a splint, or a brace to get around while alleviating pressure on the ankle.
However, resting does not mean that you should avoid physical activity altogether. You can work out other parts of your body without putting pressure on the sprained ankle.
A frozen gel pack, a bag of frozen vegetables, or a towel soaked in cold water can help to alleviate the swelling when placed on or around your sprained ankle. It’s best to do this immediately after an injury.
Ice your ankle for 15 to 20 minutes for four to eight times a day for the first several days. Be sure to protect your skin from the cold: Avoid direct contact by first wrapping the ice treatment in a towel, then place it on your ankle. Doctors advise against using ice for too long during recovery, because it can result in tissue damage.
Applying mild compression to the ankle can also help reduce the inflammation. You can use an elastic wrap such as an ankle sleeve or an ACE bandage, or you may opt for compressive wraps made of neoprene.
Remember not to wrap it around your ankle too tightly. This may hinder circulation and worsen the sprain. Wrapping too loosely will also not do you much good. If you’re unsure how to bandage your ankle correctly, your doctor can demonstrate the proper process.
While resting, it’s best to elevate your ankle. Whenever possible, elevate your sprained ankle above the level of your heart to help prevent swelling. When sleeping, elevate your foot to the highest level that’s comfortable for you.
Use pillows or an ottoman. What happens is that gravity helps drain the excess fluid from the swollen area for natural circulation.
When you find the pain too uncomfortable, you may also take over-the-counter pain relievers. People often take ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen.
Treating Ankle Sprains in Naples, Florida
For mild to moderate ankle sprains, you should be able to see improvement with conservative treatment methods within two weeks. If you don’t see any improvement or you notice worsening, consult with a doctor who specializes in orthopedic medicine.
Here at the Joint Replacement Institute, our orthopedic specialists are ready to assess your injury and provide treatment options. We offer diagnostic imaging to check the severity of your ankle sprain, as well as both surgical and nonsurgical treatment methods.
For inquiries or to schedule an appointment, call us at (239) 261-2663 or fill out our online form. We look forward to helping you get back to your active lifestyle!