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How to treat ankle sprain

Nearly three-quarters of Americans will eventually experience some type of foot problem. In athletes, these problems are even more common.

Sprained ankles account for 15 percent of all athletic injuries. The sprain is a result of losing the position of the foot in reference to the ground or playing surface, which causes the ankle to buckle – almost exclusively against the outer side.

Because a person can sprain his ankle by simply stepping from the curb – 23,000 ankle sprains occur in the United States every single day – it’s one of those injuries that’s virtually impossible to prevent. Still, there are things you can do to reduce your risk, such as wearing proper shoes. Athletes can reduce their risk by paying close attention to playing surfaces. Many sprained ankles can be directly attributed to slippery gym floors or uneven surfaces in the athletic field.

Once the injury has occurred, the best form of treatment is the RICE method:

Most important, the athlete should take his or her weight off the wounded ankle as soon as possible.In addition, it’s crucial to start applying ice during the 24 hours immediately following the injury. To maximize the benefits of icing, the athlete should follow a cycle of 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. By first binding the ankle with an Ace bandage, two purposes are served: The bandage protects the skin from frostbite, and it reduces swelling with consistent pressure. Finally, it’s vital to rest the injured ankle. Keep the foot elevated above the heart by propping it with some pillows. Not only will this type of inactivity allow time for recovery, the position helps to decrease swelling.

The majority of people with routine ankle sprains can expect to return to their normal exercise programs within two weeks. Obviously, a more significant sprain can take longer to rehabilitate.

If the ankle continues to hurt after six weeks, see a physician. Also, if you’re unable to walk on the affected ankle within a day, you should see a physician. Unfortunately, many people refuse to take the ankle injury seriously. The more attention you pay to the sprain, the sooner the ankle is likely to heal and the less likely you’ll sustain another sprain.

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