With spring just around the corner, DOC is seeing a variety of sporting injuries. One of the most common injuries hobbling into our clinics are ankle sprains. For active individuals, early treatment of a sprain is crucial to a speedy recovery. Here are six measures you should take when you have an ankle sprain.
1. Rest – As hard as it may be for some individuals, taking some time to be off your feet to recover can make all the difference. If this is not an option for you, crutches might be a good alternative, this way you can still move about while allowing your ankle the recovery time it needs. Depending on the severity of the sprain you may be able to do low-impact exercises such as swimming or riding the stationary bike.
2. Ice – For the first two days after in injury, you should ice the joint several times a day for 15 – 20 minutes, but do not ice for more than 20 minutes at a time. Utilizing ice will help reduce swelling and control pain.
3. Compression – You can purchase a simple ACE wrap at your local drugstore. When wrapping the joint it is important to make sure it is comfortably snug but not tight. Using an ACE wrap to compress the joint will help reduce swelling and provide more range of motion.
4. Elevate – Reducing swelling is the most important factor when it comes to pain control. By elevating the joint gravity will do the work to reduce swelling in the joint. When you lay back and put a few pillows under the ankle and make sure your ankle is above your heart.
5. Project the Joint – For severe sprains you should immobilized the joint with a brace or splint. By keeping the joint stable you will prevent another injury to the joint. It is also important to not walk on the injured ankle joint.
6. See an Orthopedist – When you injure your ankle you can try the measures listed above at home. If you don’t have relief make an appointment with an orthopedist, or walk-in to Direct Orthopedic Care (DOC). A medical provider can assess the severity of the injury and determine if you damaged tendons, cartilage, or nerves. Additionally, they can prescribe the appropriate rehabilitation measures, provide bracing and crutches, or splint the ankle, if needed.