When you stretch or tear one of the ligaments on the outside of your ankle, it results in the injury commonly known as an ankle sprain. Whether you stepped oddly on an uneven surface or twisted it during a soccer or football game, you know the signs: pain, swelling, and weakness in the ankle joint.
The time it takes for a sprained ankle to heal depends on the severity of the injury. Treating the injury as soon as possible can help facilitate more efficient healing. And, although surgery is required in some cases, you can usually use noninvasive methods to restore function and health to a sprained ankle. Read on to learn the seven best treatments for your sprained ankle.
Avoid walking on the ankle following injury. Crutches may be necessary if you have a severe tear or fracture. In the days following the sprain, minimize weight-bearing activity. How long you should rest depends on the severity of your tear; the team at Go Feet will give you guidelines.
Ice can help alleviate swelling in the hours and days following your sprain. Never put the ice directly on your skin; instead wrap it in a towel or sheet, and apply to the injured area for 20 minutes at a time. Take 20 minutes with no ice before repeating again.
Research shows that compression does help your body heal. At Go Feet, the expert podiatrists can wrap your foot from your toes to just above the ankle at a pressure that’s going to facilitate healing without cutting off circulation. Compression helps by controlling swelling and adding stability. The compression also helps limit your range of motion slightly, so the ankle can heal.
Whenever you’re seated, prop your leg up on a stool or other high surface to get it above your heart or waist. Elevation helps prevent blood and fluids from pooling at the injury, minimizing swelling and reducing pain.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce your immediate pain. You may also benefit from topical pain medicine applications. In most cases, you only need painkillers for a few days to take the edge off the immediate consequences of the injury.
In severe sprains, you may benefit from immobilizing the ankle for a short few weeks to allow for initial healing. In extreme cases, a short leg cast worn for two to three weeks or a walking boot may be prescribed. This can help the ligaments heal back together.
As soon as the doctors at Go Feet say you’re ready, one of the best treatments for a sprained ankle is physical therapy. Physical therapy exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles around the ankle and improve coordination. When you should start physical therapy really depends on your injury, but doing mobilization exercises can get you back on your feet sooner.
If you think you’ve sprained your ankle, rest, ice, compress, and elevate it right away. Also make an appointment with the podiatric experts at Go Feet to have the injury evaluated so you heal as quickly as possible.