When you sprain your ankle it is handy to have some basic knowledge on what to do. Prompt fist aid treatment will speed along recovery and have you up and about quicker.
Not all ankle sprains will require medical treatment, some of the minor sprains will respond nicely to PRICE , and you could be walking again within a few days. Others are more serious and will need to be seen by a Doctor, Physio or Podiatrist to assess the likely of ligament rupture or bone fractures. About 15 % of all ankle sprains result in a fracture. As the likelihood of there being a fracture is quite low, X-rays are not done routinely. A fracture of the bones of the foot or ankle will require more complex treatment and possibly even surgery.
Ankle sprains will take on average 6- 12 weeks to heal. In the first 24-48 hours, the ankle will need to be treated to manage the pain and swelling, and prevent further injury.
P-Protected mobilisation- a gentle movements of the foot that do not cause pain- such as point and flex.
R- Rest- modify your activity to rest and use crutches to walk if required
I- Ice- 20 minutes every waking hour with ice bath or crushed ice in plastic bags
C- Compression- a light crepe or elasticated tubular bandage
E- Elevation- a stool when sitting and a pillow when laying
In the following days and weeks avoid activity which may re-damage the healing structures around the ankle. PRICE can be continued for as long as it provides some benefit. Podicare podiatrists will guide you on what to do and expect as the healing occurs. It is important to remember that people will heal at different rates, and the severity of the injury will also dictate the time needed to heal.
Once the swelling and pain reduces, a program of exercises and supportive devices ( orthotics, braces) should be started to aid in prevention and rehabilitation.
In our next post we will discuss the how Podicare podiatrists can help in the long term to protect, prevent and rehab ankle sprains.