Avoid the Pain of Ankle Sprains

PREVENTING AND TREATING INJURY

Here are some tips to help you avoid ankle sprains, as well as steps for treating the inevitable…  Use common sense, and apply any or all of these steps to ankle injuries when traveling, to get you up on your feet and moving around quickly.

What You Can Do to Prevent Sprains

To help prevent strains, avoid unsupportive shoes/boots, (definitely leave the high heels at home), and always wear the right foot gear for the activity you’re engaged in.

You can strengthen your ankles by doing the following exercise: Rise up on the tips of your toes 20 to 25 times.  To keep your balance, hold on to a wall or the back of a chair.  Try this with both feet first, and, when you’re ready, with one foot.  This will greatly improve the strength around the ankle joint, and help define calves too.  Another exercise is to stand with one foot still, (Firmly planted), and rotate the other foot

If you sprained your ankle before, you are more likely to sprain it again. Always warm up before participating in any sport.  If you’ve had a previous ankle injury, you may want to tape your foot or wear an elastic bandage, and wear high-top shoes/boots for additional support.

Know the Signs

You will probably be able to tell if you sprain your ankle.  After the original twist that causes the pain on the outside of your ankle for a few minutes.  Then the pain will go away for a few minutes.  Within a half hour, the pain will return and your ankle will begin to swell.

You can treat most ankle sprains at home.  Use the R.I.C.E. method described below.

Be sure to see your Primary Care Physician if the pain lasts for more than a day or two.

R.I.C.E.:

REST: Stay off your feet if possible.  At the very least, cut back on any activities that might aggravate the sprain.

ICE: Wrap ice in a towel and gently place it on the affected area.  Apply ice for 20 minutes at a time, and wait 40 minutes before applying it again.  Do not apply heat to the ankle during the first 48 to 72 hours after the injury, or as long as there is swelling.

COMPRESSION: Wrap an elastic bandage around the affected area until the swelling goes down.  Be careful not to wrap the bandage too tight.

ELEVATION: Keep your foot elevated so that it rests higher then your heart.

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