Sprained ankles occur when ligaments in the ankle area are stretched or partially torn. Ligaments are the tissues that connect the bones of a joint. These ligaments are usually damaged during sudden ‘twisting’ of the ankle during physical activities like running, jumping, climbing, and sometimes even walking. Minor sprains can heal at home especially if given prompt and proper sprained ankle treatment.
Symptoms of Sprain
- Swelling (around the bony bump of the ankle)
- Redness or Bruising
- Pain- when moving injured part or when at rest
- Weakness of the Foot
- Inability to Bear Weight
How To Treat A Sprained Ankle
Right after the incident, you’ll notice that the area around the ankle would start to swell. Our first goal would be to treat this swelling then further assess if we need to seek medical attention or let it heal at home. There is a known formula in treating injuries like this; it’s called R-I-C-E or Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation.
Don’t move the injured ankle as much as possible. Continuing physical activity (e.g. during sport games) can only worsen the sprain. You can take aspirin or ibuprofen for pain relief (optional).
Apply ice in the affected area. Make sure you don’t apply the ice directly on the skin, use a towel or cloth. Do this for 20 minutes, every hour until swelling subsides. You can apply heat packs/pads after 24 hours to treat the pain. Remember: early application of heat will only increase swelling.
You can apply compression or bandage to provide support and decrease the swelling. Use an elastic bandage and wrap around firmly but not too tight to allow proper blood circulation.
Try to keep the injured ankle elevated while sitting or lying down.
If you still can’t stand after 24 hours or there is little progress after 72 hours, seek medical attention. Usually, you could already use the affected area after 48 hours and complete healing takes place after 2-4 weeks.
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