How To Rehab A Sprained Ankle
Sprains are among the most common injuries people sustain every year. While sprains aren’t always serious, they often require treatment for pain relief. If you suffer a sprain on your foot or ankle, it’s best to treat it right away so that you don’t end up developing more problems down the road. The following tips will help you recover from a sprained ankle quickly and get back into action as soon as possible.
First Aid For An Ankle Sprain
Ankles are joints made of bones and ligaments. When these structures are damaged, they need time to heal properly. In addition, any activity should be limited during the first few days after an injury because the inflammation process needs to run its course before moving forward.
If you’re injured by twisting your ankle sideways, make sure you lie down immediately and elevate the affected leg above the level of the heart. This is called the “Hip-to-Knee” method of reducing swelling. Never put anything heavy on top of the swollen foot or ankle. Afterward, if necessary, see a doctor.
The RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) technique is used to reduce pain, swelling, bruising, and stiffness associated with a sprained ankle. It also helps prevent complications such as muscle cramps, infections, and bone fractures.
R – Rest your ankle until swelling subsides.
I – Ice the ankle within two minutes of injury to decrease inflammation. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel directly on the ankle. Keep it on there for 20 minutes, then switch sides. Repeat this procedure four times per hour. Use a bag of frozen peas instead of bags of sugar or salt if you have diabetes. Don’t use aspirin or ibuprofen since both medications cause stomach bleeding and shouldn’t be used for longer than 10 days unless directed by a physician.
C – Compress the ankle using a firm bandage or ace bandage to limit blood flow to the area and promote healing.
E – Elevate the ankle above the heart level to control swelling.
After taking care of your immediate medical needs, follow these steps to begin rehabilitation:
Step 1: Start rehab with range-of-motion exercises in the first 72 hours after your injury. Continue with further rehab, including stretching, strength training, and balance exercises, over the next several weeks to months. You can do rehab exercises at home or even at the office to strengthen your ankle.
Step 2: Take anti-inflammatory medication like Advil or Motrin when needed to relieve pain and manage swelling. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, tobacco products, and other drugs that may aggravate the problem.
Step 3: Wear comfortable shoes with good arch support and avoid high heels. Try walking barefoot outside only if absolutely necessary.
Step 4: Do not exercise excessively; take short walks outdoors. Walkers who spend too much time indoors tend to develop knee, hip, back, and shoulder pains.
Step 5: Get plenty of rest. Strenuous workouts may lead to further strain.
Keep reading to find out what else you can do to speed up recovery from a sprained ankle.
Tips On How To Rehab A Sprained Ankle
A sprained ankle refers to damage to one or more ligaments in the ankle joint. Ligaments connect bone ends together and provide stability to the joint. Sprained ankles occur most frequently to those who participate in sports activities, but anyone can be susceptible to this type of injury.
Here are some tips on how to rehabilitate a sprained ankle:
1. Make sure you wear proper footwear. Properly fitted, supportive shoes are important to ensure proper alignment while walking and standing.
2. Follow all directions carefully. Taking prescription and nonprescription medicines correctly can aid the body in overcoming the effects of a sprained ankle. Ask someone to show you the correct way to use them.
3. Be patient. Most sprained ankles respond well to conservative treatments, especially in the early stages of the injury. However, chronic cases may require surgery.
4. Keep off weight-bearing surfaces. For example, if you fall and hit your ankle against the floor, try to land on your uninjured side to minimize the impact. Also, be careful about putting extra pressure on your sore ankle. If you must stand or walk with your feet flat on the ground, consider wearing protective supports.
5. Consider physical therapy. Physical therapists can teach you how to move safely through daily life without risking another injury.
6. Seek professional help. If symptoms persist or worsen, consult your health provider. He or she might suggest additional tests, such as x-rays, to rule out fractured bones or dislocations.
Now that you know how to rehabilitate a sprained ankle, read on to learn how to stay safe on your feet.
Tips On How To Stay Safe On Your Feet
Your feet carry you everywhere you go, whether you’re running errands around town or hiking across rugged terrain. Because feet bear your entire bodyweight, they’re particularly vulnerable to injury. Here are some tips on staying safe on your feet:
Wear appropriate footwear. Shoes should fit snugly enough to keep dirt and moisture trapped inside, yet allow room for toes to wiggle. They should have wide toe boxes and soft padding to protect sensitive areas of the foot. Choose leather or canvas lace-up boots for added security.
Have your shoes checked regularly. Inspect your shoes monthly for worn spots, loose laces, broken eyelets, cracked soles, and holes. Replace torn or missing parts promptly. Have your footwear professionally cleaned and polished once a month.
Avoid excessive heat and cold. Wearing socks made of synthetic materials can trap sweat between layers and lead to blisters and athlete’s foot. Showers and baths should be brief and taken at cooler temperatures. Extreme weather conditions can dehydrate your skin and dry out fragile feet.
Protect yourself from sharp objects. Look for nails and rough edges that could slice or puncture your skin. Watch where you place your feet and step around puddles and uneven ground. Sandals and flip flops offer little protection. Wear thick socks and closed-toe shoes whenever possible.
Check your balance. Keeping your center of gravity low increases your risk of falling. Stand up straight with your shoulders relaxed and head held high to improve your posture. Lean slightly forward to keep your weight centered over your feet. Shift your weight onto your larger leg each time you bend or squat.
Take frequent breaks. Stretch your calf muscles with bent legs to warm up before exercising strenuously. Stop exercising when you feel lightheaded or weak. Drink lots of fluids to replenish lost nutrients.
Watch where you plant your feet. Stepping on cracks, pebbles, small rocks, sticks, glass, or other foreign objects can hurt your feet. Pick your spots carefully, especially when crossing streams or driving.
Stick to trails. Walking or hiking along established trails protects you from hazards. Even better, stick to marked paths rather than wandering through unfamiliar territory.
Don’t forget your hands. Hands can slip or become entangled in brush, branches, vines, or other debris. Carry a sturdy backpack or purse to hold tools and valuables. Hold plants and flowers to create shade for your face and lower limbs.
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