How to Care for a Sprained Ankle

Foot and Ankle

Treating your Sprained Ankle.

Treating your sprained ankle properly may prevent chronic pain and instability. For a Grade I sprain, follow the R.I.C.E. guidelines:

Rest your ankle by not walking on it. Limit weight bearing. Use crutches if necessary; if there is no fracture you are safe to put some weight on the leg. An ankle brace often helps control swelling and adds stability while the ligaments are healing.

Ice it to keep down the swelling. Don't put ice directly on the skin (use a thin piece of cloth such as a pillow case between the ice bag and the skin) and don't ice more than 20 minutes at a time to avoid frost bite.

Compression can help control swelling as well as immobilize and support your injury.

Elevate the foot by reclining and propping it up above the waist or heart as needed.

Swelling usually goes down with a few days.

For a Grade II sprain, follow the R.I.C.E. guidelines and allow more time for healing. A doctor may immobilize or splint your sprained ankle.

A Grade III sprain puts you at risk for permanent ankle instability. Rarely, surgery may be needed to repair the damage, especially in competitive athletes. For severe ankle sprains, your doctor may also consider treating you with a short leg cast for two to three weeks or a walking boot. People who sprain their ankle repeatedly may also need surgical repair to tighten their ligaments.

Rehabilitating your Sprained Ankle.

Every ligament injury needs rehabilitation. Otherwise, your sprained ankle might not heal completely and you might re-injure it. All ankle sprains, from mild to severe, require three phases of recovery:

Phase I includes resting, protecting and reducing swelling of your injured ankle.

Phase II includes restoring your ankle's flexibility, range of motion and strength.

Phase III includes gradually returning to straight-ahead activity and doing maintenance exercises, followed later by more cutting sports such as tennis, basketball or football.

Once you can stand on your ankle again, your doctor will prescribe exercise routines to strengthen your muscles and ligaments and increase your flexibility, balance and coordination. Later, you may walk, jog and run figure eights with your ankle taped or in a supportive ankle brace.

It's important to complete the rehabilitation program because it makes it less likely that you'll hurt the same ankle again. If you don't complete rehabilitation, you could suffer chronic pain, instability and arthritis in your ankle. If your ankle still hurts, it could mean that the sprained ligament has not healed right, or that some other injury also happened.

To prevent future sprained ankles, pay attention to your body's warning signs to slow down when you feel pain or fatigue, and stay in shape with good muscle balance, flexibility and strength in your soft tissues.


Source: FootCareMD

RIVERA FOOT & ANKLE: At Orlando H.Rivera DPM, our priority is to deliver quality care to informed patients in a comfortable and convenient setting. When you have problems with your feet, you need to turn to a podiatrist who listens and responds… an experienced doctor who knows the field and can effectively diagnose and treat your needs… a friendly physician who counsels you on the best ways to maintain and improve your health. Our physician(s) meet all these criteria. Plus, you benefit from a dedicated team of trained professionals who give you the individualized attention you deserve.

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Foot and Ankle.

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