How To Treat a Sprained Ankle

how to treat a sprained ankle

Did you just sprain your ankle? Not to worry. Know how to treat a sprained ankle. Let’s begin with the basics. The first thing is to go for a physical checkup. The doctor will examine your ankle, lower leg, and foot. The doctor may try touching the injured skin surface. It allows the doctor to know any tender points in the area.

Besides, the range of motion is checked. The leg is moved for this reason. Now the doctor will understand the points of discomfort. The pain of moving the leg is temporarily detectable. Now, the injury may be severe. In this case, the doctor will recommend some scans. This will check for any broken bones or damaged ligaments.

Here are some of the commonly recommended scans. First is X-ray. A certain amount of radiation passes throughout the injured area. This provides images of ankles and bones. The test results may be useful. It will indicate that no bone fractures occurred.

The second is magnetic resonance imaging or M.R.I. It makes use of radio waves. Besides, a strong magnetic field produces several images. The images may be cross-sectional or three dimensional. Images of delicate internal structures are found. It shows pictures of the ankle and the ligaments as well.

The third is a C.T. scan. C.T. scans reveal details regarding the bones of the joints. It takes X-ray images from various angles. The images combine to form images. They may be three dimensional or cross-sectional.

Next is ultrasound. Real-time images are created using sound waves. This is what ultrasound is. This provides images on ligament and tendon position.

Treatment methods to know how to treat a sprained ankle

The severity of the injury determines the type of treatment needed. The goal of every treatment is the reduction of swelling and pain. Also, the treatment must aid in ligament healing. The injuries may be musculoskeletal. In that situation, the patient must consult a specialist.

You may consult an orthopedic surgeon. Or you may consult a physician. He must specialize in rehabilitation and physical medicine. Learn how to treat a sprained ankle.

First comes self-care. Continue the R.I.C.E. method for a couple of days. This can act as a preliminary treatment.

The key to healing is adequate rest. Avoid pain, swelling, and discomfort. Suspend doing activities for a while. You may even wear a brace for additional support.

Ice it thoroughly. An ice bath or ice pack may come in handy. Use it as soon as the injury occurs. The following mention goes to the American Academy of Family Physicians. This is what they recommend. Apply it for ten to fifteen minutes. Now repeat the process at an interval of two to three hours. Consult a doctor before its application. It is crucial if you have vascular disease. It may be a decrease in sensation or diabetes.

Compression is crucial for a sprain. An elastic bandage works to wrap the ankle. This will help to reduce swelling—a note of caution. Don’t wrap the injured area too tightly. This hinders proper blood circulation. Besides, it may cause numbness to the injured areas. Begin the wrapping process from the end. Begin from the part farthest from the heart. Gradually, make your way around the injured section.

Elevation of the feet. The elevation must be above the heart level. This is crucial, especially at night. Here, swelling reduces because of gravity. It drains the excess fluid. As a result, swelling reduces.

Use a couple of pillows to elevate your injured leg. At rest, use a footrest or some pillows. Always keep your ankle foot above the heart level. This is an effective way to treat a sprained ankle.

Ways to Treat a sprained ankle

Here are a few ways to easily treat a sprained ankle. Don’t suffer any further; instead, read to heal it.

Heat 

Heat turns out to be an ancient remedy. It leads to an increase in blood flow to the injury. As a result, the healing process activates. It relaxes the tight muscles. There is a reduction in pain and discomfort. This eases the tension. Hence healing and recovery quicken.

Now, do not use heat or heating pads in the early stages. Direct heat to the swollen ankle reduces healing. The process becomes slower quickly.

With continued treatment, the swelling reduces. This is how you can use heating pads. Apply it to the recovering area. Use it for not more than ten to fifteen minutes at a stretch.

You can even try ice packs. Alternate the usage of heating and ice packs. This, too, provides the required relief. Remember not to use it right after the injury.

Stretch it through

An injury causes the nearby ligaments and joints at risk. Similarly, the ankle injury has risks of damage in it. This becomes fatal if the tissues weaken from neglect. Stretching allows the muscles to stay healthy and flexible. The area receives an increase in blood circulation. This quickly heals the ankle.

The stretch must be gentle. Try stretching two to three times a day. Move your ankle in all possible directions. First, try to flex forward. Now move backward. Be in the positions for some time. Roll the foot clockwise. Look for reliefs in the stretches. Finally, move the leg in an anticlockwise direction. Keep stretching till you feel relieved.

Be cautious. Do not overextend. Make sure not to stretch beyond the limitations. This will not provide relief any further. Try not to move it in the direction that hurts.

Walk to heal

Exercising will restore balance and strength. Alongside, it will prevent further damage to the injured area. As a result, the chances of another sprain reduce.

Allow the swelling to go down. Ensure you are comfortable enough. Now you can start exercising. The doctor may recommend light exercising.

A light exercise for fifteen minutes may help you recover. Try to exercise every alternate day. Begin on a low step. Try to stand with the heels dangling backward. Try to be in position over the edge. Now try dropping the heals slightly. For a few seconds, hold the position. Next, try elevating the heel above your toe.

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Try to keep the balance on one foot. Stay in this position for almost a minute. Now you can switch sides. Both joints will get equal strength.

You may require an elastic band. Use it as a band under the foot. It will provide gentle resistance. Try moving the leg clockwise. Follow this with an anticlockwise movement. Besides, you can even try playing catch in this position. Make sure you can balance on one foot.

Massage daily

Massage the injured area daily, without fail. This will ease the sprained ankle. A severe injury needs special attention. In that case, do not carry out any exercise without consult. Make sure to consult a massage therapist for better results.

Gentle massage at home is possible. This is true, especially for mild injuries. Massaging the heels may provide some relief. Others suggest massaging around the injury. Carry out whichever process offers maximum comfort.

On constant pain, immediately stop massaging. Seek medical help as soon as possible. This may prevent the worsening of the symptoms.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is beneficial for long term pain. It is crucial to post serious sprain or other severe injuries. Besides, it is helpful for similar mild injuries.

The physical therapist examines the sprained ankle. This allows the identification of the weak muscles. Besides, any other issue causing pain is found out. They detect the risk of further injuries, if any.

The therapist may do a background check. He may ask the patient about his or her lifestyle. The person’s food habits, daily activities, and profession may come as questions. These details are essential to know the reason for injury. Besides, treatment methods are decided on accordingly.

The exercise plans are customizable for every patient. All the needs of the patients are kept in mind here. Only then can the routine ease pain and promote recovery.

Medication for a sprained ankle

Having some pain-relievers may come to the rescue. Ibuprofen such as Advil or Motrin I.B., naproxen sodium like Aleve may work well. Acetaminophen like Tylenol may also work great at reducing the pain.

Devices for added support

Some devices may be needed to ease your daily movements. This allows you to get through the daily activities. Crutches may be effective until the pain disappears. Elastic bandages, braces to support the ankle, or sports tapes help a lot. A cast or walking boots is essential for severe injuries. It is crucial to immobilize movement for a while. This will ensure the tendons have wholly healed before further movement.

Last resort, surgery to treat a sprained ankle

Now, this is rare. However, complications may arise. The injury may not heal. Besides, the ankle may have been unstable despite treatments. In such cases, surgery is a must. It will focus on repairing the unhealed ligament.

Besides, reconstruction of a ligament may be done. It will require tissue from a nearby ligament or tendon. In this case, the doctor may ask you to be at rest for a while. The time san may be of two to three months.

Diagnosis of a sprained ankle

You may assume having a sprained ankle. The symptoms will be a pain, tenderness in the injured area, bruise, and swelling. You will find it difficult to put weight on the injured foot. Besides, any touch would cause tenderness in the injured area. Lastly, you will experience limitations in the range of motion.

When is the right time to see a doctor? One, the pain did not subside in a day or two. Second, the ankle joint seems unstable. This will indicate a torn ligament or maybe a fractured bone. You may even encounter a sensation of popping. This is something you may notice at the time of injury. In any of these cases, seek help from experts immediately.

Learn how to wrap a sprained ankle

You can wrap a sprained ankle in a couple of ways. Bandages, tapes, and braces can be useful. Besides, it is easy to use. It is crucial to know how to wrap a sprained ankle.

It will help you to recover speedily from the injury. Further complications can be minimized. Next is the elimination of the need for further treatment.

Here are some of the steps to wrap a sprained ankle.

A tight wrap can distort blood circulation throughout the body. This may interfere with the process of healing. In the worst cases, your foot may have some tissue damage.

Hence, you need a loose wrap. This will allow you to make some movements. The ligaments will get the necessary support. Therefore recovery is faster with this support.

Before wrapping the injured area, remember the following. Wash the area gently. Dry it well before wrapping. Make sure you have the things ready at hand. This will reduce the additional hassle. Now, the final advice is to take time when treating the area.

The method of wrapping solely depends on the material you use. It may be a tape, bandage, or any sort of wrap.

A.C.E. Bandage

The most famous elastic bandage is the ACE-brand bandage. It wraps the joints, ankles, and knees.

Know how to wrap an A.C.E. bandage. Follow the steps.

First, you need to make sure of the amount of bandage. The amount must be enough to cover the foot and ankles. The process requires wrapping several times. Have a scissor at hand. It will help you to cut the bandage at the end of the wrapping.

Now begin by wrapping the ball on your foot. It is the location below the toes. Wrap the area twice now. Next is working up the bandage. Wrap around the foot and ankle a couple of times. The wrapping pattern is that of figure eight. The bandage must be kept firm.

Now you can finish wrapping the bandage. Wrap twice on your lower leg. This will be a couple of inches above the ankle level. Make sure the bandage covers everything. The areas covered will be the ball of the foot, up to the ankle. It will go beyond the ankle and protect the heel as well.

Any elastic bandage comes with a Velcro or an attachment. Fasten it at the end of bandaging. This will secure the whole bandage in place throughout. You may even find some bandages that are self-secured. In that case, the hassle reduces by half.

Keep the wrap firm enough for the ankle not to move. However, the ankle must not feel stiff. Ensure the wrap is not too tight. The foot may feel tingly. Or it may start hurting if it is too tight. Loosen it up in that case.

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Kinesiology tape

Some may refer to kinesiology tape as K.T. The K.T. is a cotton tape. It has an acrylic adhesive of medical-grade. This helps to pull up or lift the skin a bit. As a result, there is a slight reduction in inflammation.

The ankle receives little support in the process. The K.T. has a paper attached to it. It is like a peel-off tape. You need to peel the paper. Then the adhesive side is to be stuck to the skin. Make sure you do it with utmost safety. Otherwise, the tender area will be in pain.

Follow the steps mentioned to wrap a K.T. Here is what you need to do. Start by tearing a long piece of the K.T. It must be enough to cover the whole of the lower leg. The piece will have to cover one side of the ankle to another. In the meantime, it will cover the foot.

Try to sit at a 90-degree angle. Now this will help you to lower your leg. The middle area of the strip must be put on the bottom of the foot. It will be the thick area between the arch and heel. Peel the paper off. Now press firmly onto the leg.

You need to bring the tape up to the other side. At this point, try turning your ankle. Turning to the other side will provide a stretch. This stretch on the skin will keep the tape firmly positioned. Keep pressing firmly. Ensure no air bubbles from under the tape.

You may even start from the top. In this case, turn the ankle outward. This will again give a little stretch to the skin. Now apply the tape in the same way as mentioned before. The second tape of K.T. wraps around the ankle. It will further wrap around the above the heel and Achilles tendon.

You might feel a slight sensation in the ankle area. This will act as a reminder not to move the ankle much. However, the firmness and wrapping are comparatively.

Ankle Brace

Ankle braces are made of a variety of materials. Some of the most common ones are neoprene and lightweight plastic. The design is made to slip the foot and through it—some of the Velcro straps. At the same time, others may have elastic laces. It is made of form-fitted materials that snuggle the ankle.

Braces are essential if you are looking to recover quickly. Suppose you want to get back to sports. Or you need to walk a lot after the healing.

Grades of a sprained ankle

The doctor may do preliminary testing. After this, the doctor the grade of treatment. This is essential for building the treatment plan you need. Grades are based on the amount of damage to the ligaments. The higher the grade, the more severe the ankle sprain will be.

Grade I sprain

It is a mild sprain. There is a slight stretching of the ligaments. The fibers of the ligament have microscopic tears. The swelling and tenderness prevail. However, the tenderness is pretty much mild.

Grade II sprain

This is a sprain of moderate level. The ligaments have partial tears. The tenderness will be moderate. Swelling around the ankle is noticeable. Ankle inspection may cause pain. A subtle looseness of the ankle joint will be noticeable.

Grade III sprain

This is a severe form of a sprained ankle. At this level, the ligaments have undergone serious damage. There might be torn ligaments. Swelling and tenderness are significant at this level. Any ankle movement will cause considerable instability.

Outcomes of a sprained ankle

The outcomes are usually right. Proper treatment ensures quick recovery. As a result, the person can go back to daily activities in no time. The outcomes are successful. But they depend mostly on the patient’s commitment. The rehabilitation exercises must be followed correctly. The incomplete or inattentiveness to rehabilitation exercises may cause a chronic sprain.

The patients must continue the strengthening exercises. In case they stop doing so, they will be at risk of continued sprains.

Chronic ankle sprains

The sprain in the ankle may not have healed completely. Moving the ankle too much may cause more tears in ligaments. Besides, it is quite challenging to understand if the ankle is completely healed. An ankle having a chronic tear is still functional. The overlying tendons here help maintain stability and motion.

The pain may continue for four weeks. Or it may extend to around six weeks. In this case, you are sure to have a chronic ankle sprain. Some of the activities may worsen a sprain. Stepping up and down uneven surfaces or sports worsens sprain. Sports involving turning or twisting the foot surely damages more ligaments.

A common complication is involved in ankle sprains. It is commonly called abnormal proprioception. It may cause repeated sprains. Muscular weakness and imbalance may cause this repetition. If the same ankle sprain occurs on repeat, the chronicity persists. Gradually, the ankle will give away.

Conclusion

Knowing how to treat a sprained ankle and healing depends on the injury severity and activity level. Mild sprains heal in a few days. At the same time, a severe sprain may take up to a few months to heal. Rehabilitation exercises consist of a range of exercises. The exercises focus on balance, strength, and flexibility. This will restore normal functioning. In no time, you will be up on your feet.

This article covers how to treat a sprained ankle. Give some time for the ankle to heal. Otherwise, you will end up with a chronic condition. The outcomes can be worse. Hence it is advisable to recover entirely before resuming work.

Here are some preventive measures on how to treat a sprained ankle. Make sure to warm up. This is important before continuing physical activity and exercise. Be attentive while running, working, or walking. Make sure to stop and take a rest if you are on. Besides, take a rest if you are fatigued or feel any discomfort.

 

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