A sprained ankle can happen to anyone, whether you're an athlete or just out for a walk. It can be quite painful and limit your mobility. But what exactly is a sprained ankle? And what should you do if it happens to you?
In this article, we take a closer look at sprained ankles and give you helpful tips to recover quickly and get back on your feet.
What is a Sprained Ankle?
A sprained ankle is an injury in which the ankle ligaments (the tissues that hold the bones together) are overstretched or torn. This can happen when the ankle is suddenly twisted, for example during sports, walking on uneven terrain or simply from missteps. It can also be the result of a hard blow to the ankle, for example in a fall.
Symptoms of a Sprained Ankle
The symptoms of a sprained ankle can range from mild to severe, depending on the extent of the injury. Here are some common symptoms:
- Pain and swelling around the ankle
- Bruising or discoloration of the skin
- Stiffness and difficulty moving the ankle
- Sensitivity around the ankle
- Possibly a popping or cracking sound at the time of the injury
How Do You Treat A Sprained Ankle?
If you suspect you have sprained your ankle, it is important to take the right measures as soon as possible to reduce the swelling and prevent further damage. Here are some steps you can take:
- Rest: Avoid ankle strain by resting and elevating your foot.
- Ice: Put an ice pack on the ankle to reduce swelling. Do this for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
- Compression: Wrap an elastic bandage around the ankle to reduce swelling and support the ankle. Make sure you don't wrap too tight.
- Elevation: Keep your ankle higher than your heart to decrease blood flow and reduce swelling.
- Medication: Pain relievers such as ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation.
When Should You See a Doctor?
In most cases, a sprained ankle will heal on its own with proper care and rest. However, there are times when you should seek medical attention. See a doctor if:
- The pain and swelling do not subside after a few days of rest and care.
- The ankle still feels unstable after several weeks of rest.
- You are in a lot of pain and the ankle appears to be severely damaged.
- You have trouble moving or carrying the ankle because of the pain.
In these cases, a doctor may perform X-rays or other tests to assess the severity of the injury and suggest appropriate treatment.
Recovery from a Sprained Ankle
Recovery from a sprained ankle can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks or even months, depending on the severity of the injury. Here are some tips to aid your recovery:
- Keep resting: Rest is crucial to recovering from a sprained ankle. Try not to put any weight on the ankle and keep it elevated to reduce swelling.
- Physical therapy: In some cases, physical therapy may be helpful to strengthen the ankle and restore mobility. A physical therapist can recommend exercises and stretches to strengthen the ankle and reduce the chance of future injuries.
- Use of braces or taping: Wearing an ankle brace or taping the ankle can help support the ankle and prevent future injuries.
- Build up slowly: When you start using your ankle again, build up slowly. Start with light activities and gradually increase them as the ankle gets stronger.
- Preventing Future Injuries: A sprained ankle can increase the chance of future injuries. Be sure to support and strengthen the ankle with exercises and proper footwear to reduce the chance of future injuries.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sprained Ankles
- Can I still exercise with a sprained ankle? It is best to rest and not put any strain on the ankle until it has completely healed. You may want to consider alternative exercises that don't put stress on the ankle, such as swimming or cycling. Always consult a doctor before exercising again.
- Is a sprained ankle the same as a broken ankle? No, a sprained ankle means that the ankle ligaments are overstretched or torn, while a broken ankle means that there is a break in one or more of the bones of the ankle. Both injuries require medical treatment, but a broken ankle is usually more serious and may take longer to heal.
- Knows that there is a break in one or more of the bones of the ankle. Both injuries require medical treatment, but a broken ankle is usually more serious and may take longer to heal.
- Should I massage my ankle to aid recovery? It is important to be careful when massaging a sprained ankle, as it can make the injury worse. It is best to consult a doctor or physiotherapist for advice on massaging the ankle.
- Can I treat a sprained ankle myself? Yes, in most cases you can treat a sprained ankle yourself with rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE method). However, it is important to see a doctor if pain and swelling persist or if you have difficulty moving the ankle.
A sprained ankle is a common injury that can occur with sports or everyday activities. It is important to rest the ankle and provide proper care to aid recovery. If pain and swelling persist or if you have difficulty moving the ankle, it is important to see a doctor for further treatment and guidance. Preventing future injuries is also important, so be sure to support and strengthen the ankle with exercises and proper footwear.