How to Treat a Sprained Ankle
So, you have twisted your ankle doing that new Samba move on the dance floor again! How many times do you have to tell your dance partner to stop stepping on your feet! You are now experiencing extreme pain, increased swelling and your poor ankle is really starting to turn an amazing shade of red, white and blue, like the colors on the American flag!
You are most likely experiencing a dreaded sprained ankle and probably won't be doing much dancing for the next few weeks! So how can you speed up your recovery time and get back on that dance floor? Join me now in examining the mechanism of a sprained ankle, signs and symptoms of a sprain and a simple method of treatment for a quick recovery.
Mechanism of a Sprain
A sprain occurs when there is an injury to the ligaments surrounding a joint. This is usually caused by a twisting or wrenching motion. The basic function of a ligament is to maintain stability and permit mobility or movement. When a ligament gets torn, it loses its otherwise stabilizing ability. Blood vessels under the skin become ruptured and significant swelling occurs. The degree of pain and disability are usually at their highest level during the first few hours after an injury occurs because of this associated bleeding and swelling.
To make sure that there is not an underlying bone injury, such as a fracture or avulsion fracture, it is always best to have an xray.
Signs and Symptoms of a Sprain
The severity of signs and symptoms will be relative to the degree of the injury, but usually, you will find the following associated with a sprain:
- Increased edema (swelling)
- Ecchymosis (bruising and discoloration)
- Inability or difficulty bearing weight on the affected leg
How To Wrap a Sprained Ankle with a Compression Bandage
Treatment for Sprained Ankle
The gold standard treatment for sprains recommended by orthopedic doctors is R.I.C.E. or rest, ice, compression and elevation. Follow these steps for a speedy recovery.
- Rest-Use rest to prevent additional injury and promote the healing process. This allows a sprain to heal faster.
- Ice-To reduce swelling, apply an ice pack intermittently for 20-30 minutes during the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury occurs. This will produce vasoconstriction which will decrease swelling, bleeding and pain. Make sure to take precautions to avoid skin and tissue damage from excessive cold by placing a barrier between the ice pack and the skin.
- Compression-An elastic compression bandage, such as an ACE bandage, helps to control bleeding, reduces swelling and provides extra support for the injured tissues. If the injury is severe, however, a cast or surgical repair may be necessary. Be sure to check with your doctor if you suspect a severe sprain. In addition, always check that the bandage is not wrapped to tight. Symptoms of this would include numbness of the foot or leg, pallor (paleness) and coldness. If this occurs, unwrap immediately, let circulation return and rewrap correctly. Be sure to watch the above video to learn how to apply a compression bandage properly.
- Elevation-Helps reduce the swelling. Elevate on pillows or blankets to a level above the heart to increase blood flow back to the heart thereby reducing swelling.
- Optional-Take an antiinflammatory, such as Motrin or Tylenol for pain and inflammation. Do not exceed recommended doseage.
Help for Sprains on Amazon
Check with Your Doctor
Remember it is always wise to check with your doctor before taking any over the counter medications or if you think you may have an extremely severe sprain or fracture.