An ankle sprain is a common injury that can affect people of any age and activity level. Ankle injuries occur when the ligaments that support the ankle stretch beyond their limits or tear.
Ankle sprains can be mild or severe, based on how much ligament damage has occurred. Whether you have a minor or major ankle sprain, proper treatment is important to facilitate healing and reduce long-term complications.
Let’s discuss everything you need to know about treating ankle sprains, from R.I.C.E. to physical therapy.
Within the first 24-48 hours of an ankle injury, try the RICE method, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
- Limit strenuous activity (running, jumping, exercise, etc.) and give your injured ankle complete rest.
- Apply ice or a cool towel to the injured ankle for 15 to 20 minutes and repeat every two to three hours.
Talk to your doctor if you are suffering from peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, or decreased sensations in the lower extremities.
- Gently wrap the ankle in a tight elastic bandage. Do not wrap too tightly as it can hinder blood circulation.
- When sitting or lying on the couch, raise the ankle so that it’s above your heart rate.
Over-the-counter NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help reduce ankle pain and swelling associated with ankle sprain. However, it is important to use them cautiously and not take them longer as they cause troublesome GI side effects.
Braces and Support
Wearing a brace or support can provide additional stability and protection to the ankle during activities that may increase the risk of re-injury.
There are many types of braces and supports available, ranging from simple ankle sleeves to more rigid braces. Depending on the grade of your ankle sprain, your foot and ankle doctor may recommend a brace or ankle support.
For example, in more severe cases, foot-ankle doctors recommend immobilizing the ankle with a cast or walking boot.
Once your ankle pain and swelling subside enough for movement to resume, your foot and ankle doctor may recommend you see a physical therapist. A physical therapist can recommend a series of exercises aimed to restore strength, flexibility, stability, and range of motion of your ankle.
Your physical therapist may also explain the appropriate way to perform exercises. Typically, a physical therapy plan for ankle sprain includes balance and stability training and exercises.
People who sustain ankle sprain while exercising or playing a sport may have to perform specific activity and movement testing before they return to their physical activity or sport.
Ankle Pain in Warwick & Middletown, RI, and Fall River, MA
Ankle sprains can be a frustrating and painful injury, but with the right treatment, most people can return to their normal activities within a few weeks. It’s also important to maintain good posture, incorporate warm-ups and stretches in your routine, and rest when needed to reduce the risk of getting a sprained ankle.
At the Foot & Ankle Institute of New England, our team of highly trained and compassionate podiatrists treat a wide range of injuries and deformities of lower legs, feet, and ankles with nonsurgical, minimally invasive, and advanced surgical procedures. Our foot and ankle experts can not only treat your ankle pain and facilitate healing but also provide you with instructions on how to prevent spraining your ankle in the future.
To know more about us, you may reach our Middletown office at (401) 217-4444, Warwick office at (401) 738-7750, and Fall River clinic at (508) 679-3700. If you would like to schedule a consultation with us, you can fill out our online appointment request form.
We look forward to serving you!