Sprained Ankle Treatments
Sprained ankles are a painful experience that occurs when the foot turns, rolls, or twists beyond its normal intended motion. This can happen during any type of physical activity as a result of an unexpected movement. When the foot incurs an experience far above its normal force of stepping, the ligaments are stretched beyond their normal range of position. This can cause swelling and bruising; tearing or damage to other bodily structures such as connective tissues, tendons, and muscles; and even bone fractures.
It’s important that you treat your sprained ankle with the correct care to avoid further damage. The first step in diagnosing and treating your sprained ankle is determining the seriousness of the strain and if any other areas have been affected.
If you think that you’ve rolled or sprained your ankle during a sporting activity, the “PRICE” therapy method is a great set of treatments for sprained ankle.
PRICE stands for:
- Protection: Ensure that the affected area is protected from further injury. Use a support and wear shoes that help to protect your feet and ankles.
- Rest: Avoid any activity that led to the injury and avoid all activity for the first 48 to 72 hours following the incident. Rest the affected joint whenever possible.
- Ice: During the first 48 to 72 hours, keep your ankle wrapped in a damp towel for 15- to 20-minute intervals. Avoid letting ice touch the area directly because you could cause a cold burn.
- Compression: Bandage or compress the affected area to help reduce swelling and movement.
- Elevation: Keep the affected or injured area raised on a pillow to help reduce the swelling.
The length of time that it takes for you to recover from your sprained or strained ankle will depend on how severe the injury was. Generally, you’ll be able to walk a week or two after the injury with full use of your ankle after six to eight weeks. You’ll be able to return to sporting activities after twelve weeks.
If you have incurred a muscle strain, the time that it takes to recover can vary. Some people can recover within just a few weeks while others might not be able to return to their normal daily and physical activities for up to several months.
People may experience continued problems following an ankle sprain or muscle strain such as instability, intermittent swelling, and chronic pain for months and even years. If your injury doesn’t improve or your symptoms get worse, it’s important to visit your doctor or possibly an orthopaedic specialist.
Surgeries surrounding ankle strains and sprains are few and far between. Surgeries are typically only required for more severe muscle strains. In these types of cases, it is likely that the muscle won’t fully regain its former performance and strength. This is more likely for those who play professional sports and have a higher risk of a second (or third) injury. For those who are not involved in professional sports, minor strains are usually too mild to call for the risks of surgery.