How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

Spraining an ankle can make your life challenging, as it hurts and restricts you from doing your normal activities. However, it isn't hard to learn how to deal with this injury, and recovery is simple with the right knowledge. When treated immediately, you are more likely to recover without complications and return to your regular routine quickly.

Self-Care & Home Treatments

No matter how severe your injury is, there are recovery strategies that you can start implementing at home to properly heal yourself. Self-care will boost your healing process, so make sure you strengthen your recovery strategies as soon as possible. Most of these treatment options are simple and straight forward to implement, but it's always good to ask a health care professional first before anything else.

RICE Method

Rest

Every time you sustain an injury, it's important to allow for resting or recovering of the tissue damaged. For example, if you sprain your ankle, you should minimize putting weight on your affected leg and only increase activity once your doctor or physical therapist clears you to do so. Use pain as a guide for how much you should exercise.

Heat & Cold Therapy

Some pain may accompany new ankle sprains, swelling and discomfort. As a result, cold therapy sack can help those with new injuries feel better without medications. Additionally, it has potential to boost the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory medication. As swelling diminishes, alternating between hot and cold therapy will reduce pain and potentially improve blood flow for even quicker healing and comfort.

As an alternative to passive forms of icing, such as ice packs or gel wraps, some people prefer cryotherapy, which often consists of submersion in either very cold water or cold air from a home-use machine. It's important that you consult with your medical provider before beginning any type of non-medical treatment for your ailment!

Compression

Socks, wraps and taping or other compression products applied directly to an injured ankle can yield benefits. Direct pressure helps alleviate swelling and promote better blood circulation, while soothing the area. Compression itself may also help provide pain relief. Additionally, better awareness of how you're using your ankle can help prevent further injuries and promote optimal recovery.

Support

A sprained ankle is never fun. The ligaments in the ankle overstretch. This decreases the inherent stability of your foot and ankle, which may seem like a bummer, but it’s actually a good thing, because now you know that you have to take care of it if you want to prevent further injury. An ankle brace is an effective way to support during all stages of healing, as long as it doesn’t cause constant friction or irritation.

Stretches and Strengthening Exercises

You may be feeling better, but before you get up and run around the block, it's necessary to ensure your ankle is in tip-top shape so you can avoid problems down the line. Stretching will help with any sore muscles or tight joints in the area and bring them back to normal flexibility. Strengthening will build up your muscle tone again and restore coordination. Rest assured, our physical therapists would never let you overextend yourself - trust their guidance if they adjust your workouts to focus on specific goals.

Wear Proper Shoes

It's finally time to leave your house again and get back into your routine. You've been recuperating from that ankle injury for a while now, but now it's time to wear shoes again. But before you do so, we recommend talking to a podiatry specialist to ensure maximum comfort while wearing shoes again - especially when it comes to finding the right balance between support and flexibility!

Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

NSAIDs, like Aleve and Advil, can help kickstart the recovery process by reducing inflammation and providing pain relief. This can allow you to better tolerate your daily activities, as well as other beneficial activities for your recovery, such as sleeping. Although these over the counter medications aren’t ideal in long-term use, they are a great short-term option for boosting recovery. NSAIDs have some risks for certain people, so talk to your pharmacist or doctor about what’s best for you if you are taking any other medications.

Professional Treatment

Massage

When life gets stressful and you feel like your body is aching, tense, and stiff, it's time to give yourself a massage. Whether you go to someone else or do it yourself, there are so many benefits. You can get pain relief and some help for the swelling in your limbs (not that we advocate swelling). Additionally, massage therapy promotes good health beyond these physical benefits (massage also helps reduce stress). The techniques used in massage therapy include gentle rhythmic motions, trigger points, and deep tissue massages. ​

Physical Therapy

Working with a physical therapist is a great way to maintain your recovery! If you were recently recovering from an injury, it's important that you don't push yourself too hard. However, you also want to avoid sitting idle and letting yourself become too stiff, as well as risk aggravating your initial problem. Exercise is a good way for this! Working with a physical therapist means you can build confidence in the strength of your injury over time, building up through consistency and planning. Making the right decisions about which exercises to do is the most important thing when it comes to maintaining healing. Therefore, one needs to make sure they're making those decisions by being aware of everything they're doing in their daily exercise routine!

Surgery

Ankle surgery can be both invasive and dangerous simultaneously. It's rare for patients to undergo it, and when it is done, it’s only attempted if conservative treatment options produce bad effects compared to their benefits. If you find yourself dealt a blow to the ankle with little or no improvement despite other treatments' efforts, then you may need surgery. The most common procedure involved in ankle surgery is the "cinching" of damaged ligaments into better positions around the damaged areas, so that they can provide more support during healing.

Recovering

As ankle injuries are often commonplace for athletes, it is important to have a solid understanding of the tools and methods used in healing them without fail. As soon as you know that you have sustained an ankle injury, it is imperative to check with your doctor and inform them immediately of your symptoms, so that he or she can give you the best possible option for healing.

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