Sprained ankle treatment

Spraining your ankle is never any fun however with the right treatment you can be back on your feet in no time. The most important thing to do after an injury to your ankle is to make sure it is not fractured or broken. If the pain is severe or you cannot bare any weight at all on the foot then you may have done more damage than just a sprain. Although a sprain can be extremely painful, a break or a fracture will cause extreme discomfort. If you suspect a fracture or a breakage then you must see a doctor immediately for proper treatment. With a sprained ankle you may still want to see a doctor however you may be able to treat your own sprain at home with a few simple steps.

The first step in treating your sprained ankle is to avoid using the ankle. Believe it or not, a lot of people choose to suffer through the pain of the sprain and continue using the foot for walking. This is not a good idea because continued use of the ankle to worsen the sprain and cause the rehabilitation process to take much longer. A sprain needs time to heal and not allowing that time will cause further damage to the area. For this reason a person should take a few days to rest the ankle.

Secondly, using a combination of cold and hot therapies is recommended. The most common form of treating a sprained ankle is to ice the ankle frequently but using heat can also have many benefits in helping to loosen the joints, ligaments and muscles inside the ankle, leg and foot to prevent them from becoming stiff and cramped. By alternating ice to minimize swelling and heat to improve movement, the ankle may be able to heal faster. Do not use either ice or heat for longer than 15 minutes at a time to avoid frostbite or burns to the skin. Using buckets of hot and cold water are often good choices instead of the typical ice and heat packs.

Although you should not be applying weight to the ankle by walking, it is a good to practice moving the ankle by stretching and rotating it gently and slowly. It is important to keep the ankle loose and able to move in all directions freely. During the time in which the ankle is being treated with heat, stretching and making gentle motions with the ankle can be helpful.

Keep your foot elevated whenever possible. This helps prevent fluid retention inside the ankle. By propping your foot up on a stack of pillows this allows you to have a comfortable place for your foot to rest as well as allowing the swelling to decrease. At times in which you cannot have your foot elevated, wrapping an ace bandage around the ankle can help minimize swelling in the ankle and foot. Be sure to wrap the bandage tight enough to apply pressure but not so tight that the blood cannot circulate through the foot.

If your sprained ankle does not begin feeling better within a few days it may be time to see a doctor. Not all sprains heal as easily as others and some may need an immobilization brace in order to keep the ankle still for healing. If you have not already seen your doctor then you may have damaged your ankle worse than you originally thought and medical treatment may be necessary. It is possible that you could have a small fracture or a tear in an important ligament that is causing the sprain to heal slowly. In this case, treatment at home may not be enough to cure the problem.

Last updated on Sep 20th, 2009 and filed under Musculoskeletal Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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