Spraining your ankle is one of those annoying little accidents that leave you feeling in shock with your heart racing and a slight nausea. While the pain is sharp and uncomfortable however, in most cases a sprained ankle is nothing to be too concerned about and it should subside gradually with time. However with the correct sprained ankle treatment you can still aid this process rather than making matter worse.
A sprained ankle occurs when you trip or fall and so twist or bend your ankle suddenly. As a result this causes the bone in your ankle to strike, grate against or bend the ligament or tendon in your foot which in turn will cause the pain and weakness that you associate with the condition.
The first sprained ankle treatment then is to protect the ankle to give it a chance to heal. It seems obvious and like common sense, but many patients will overlook this crucial element and instead walk about on their damaged foot placing unnecessary pressure on it. Also avoid it from any future trauma by removing yourself from the scene of the accident with the aid of a nearby friend or family member who can help take the weight off of your foot while you walk.
Once you’ve found somewhere to rest you should immediately remove any socks or shoes from the damage ankle – do so carefully as this can otherwise cause pain and stress in itself. The reason you need to do this however is that it will begin to swell soon and that will cause it to press against the inside of your shoe or sock – if you don’t remove them your foot could get stuck and it will cause pain when it starts pushing against your ankle.
The obvious thing to do now is to lie down and when you do you should elevate your ankle so that it’s above your heart. This important aspect of the sprained ankle treatment will drain it of fluids and prevent unnecessary swelling which can cause further complications. Lie on a sofa or a bed and use one or several cushions to prop it up.
Immediately following the accident you should also try icing the wound by holding something cold against the area where it hurts. Again this can help with the swelling and should also prevent pain. If you don’t have an ice pack or something similar to hand, then you can use a pack of frozen pees or something else from the freezer which will do the same job.
While icing is a good move initially however, avoid doing so for longer than 20 minutes maximum, as if you keep it there any longer you can actually cause further damage and even cause complications such as frost bite. Apart from anything else it will also become uncomfortable after a short period and cause the area to go numb. Following this initial 20 minutes, the ankle should be rested without ice for around 35 minutes which will allow it to return to normal temperature, after which point it can then again be iced.
Anti-inflammatory tablets and pills can also be a good move at this point as they will again prevent too much swelling and bruising around the area. Painkillers too can help alleviate the pain symptoms which will be pleasant for the individual – and if you use ibuprofen it will work as both a pain killer and a fast acting anti inflammatory. You may also want to treat the individual for shock if they feel unpleasant immediately following the incident, in which case a warm mug of hot chocolate with an extra spoon of sugar can help relax them and return their blood sugar levels to normal.
As a brief recap then, the best sprained ankle treatment immediately following an accident should be as follows:
• Protect the ankle and get away from the cause of the accident using help
• Remove the shoe and sock to prepare for swelling
• Lie down and elevate the foot above the heart
• Get sugar into the system to treat shock
• Get ibuprofen to act as a pain killer and an anti inflammatory
• Ice the wound for no longer than 20 minutes at a time using a cool pack or item from the freezer
Following this initial treatment the sprain will begin to go down depending on how bad the accident is; if it takes more than a day to heal then longer term sprained ankle treatment need to be looked into. First of all the patient should attempt to get as much rest as possible and to avoid anything where they’ll be on their feet for long periods of time. If the job is a physical one for example, then they should take time off. If it is an office job then they should look into ways of keeping the ankle elevated during working hours. Exercise should also be avoided where there will be impact on the ankle (so sports or running are out). However as the injury starts to get better, swimming or cycling can represent good ways to return some strength to the area without placing any stress on the joint. During sleep at night the ankle should also be kept elevated with a cushion or pillow.
If the sprain is bad then walking may present a problem. In this case a splint or brace can be used to protect the ankle and keep it straight. Alternatively another sprained ankle treatment that should offer support is a tight bandage to offer compression which will also keep it supported and prevent it from moving around too much while the tendon isn’t offering its usual stability (which can also prevent a repeat of the initial accident). Compression should be firm but not too tight – as though this will feel as though it’s lessening the pain, it can actually press against the damaged area and also prevent blood flow which will slow recovery and potentially cause other problems.
After the ankle seems to be better, if the sprain was bad it can be good sense to keep the compression on, or to generally be careful. Following a sprain even when the ankle is healed it can lose some of its stability meaning that it will always be at more risk of spraining or twisting again. For this reason it is sensible to avoid risking a repeat of the accident immediately after, and it can also be beneficial to get physiotherapy or look into exercises to strengthen the area once again and return the balance and stability.