If you have sustained a sprain or a fracture to your ankle, it is important to let it heal properly in order to avoid permanent damage. Ankle sprains are incredibly common: over 25,000 people suffer them every day. A sprain occurs when one or more ligaments on the outside of your ankle are pulled or torn. As it is hard to differentiate a sprain from a fracture, it is imperative to seek medical attention so that your ankle can be x-rayed. Once your injury has been diagnosed, you’ll be able to give it the care it needs in order for it to heal properly. Here are some tips for properly caring for your ankle injury to ensure that it heals correctly:
For a Sprain
Depending upon how serious the sprain is, the sprain can be classified as grade 1, 2, or 3. The best way to treat a sprain is to utilize the R.I.C.E. method: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. For a grade 1 sprain, you should rest your ankle by not walking on it as much as possible, only putting minimal weight on it. In many cases, an ankle brace will be given in order to help reduce the swelling and discomfort of a sprain, which may make it easier to put some weight on it if need be. However, if it is too difficult to bear weight, you may be given crutches. You can apply ice to help relieve the pain and swelling. When you ice your ankle, make sure that there is a barrier between the ice and your skin, such as a pillowcase or a towel. You shouldn’t ice your ankle for more than 20 minutes in order to avoid frostbite. Compression can help control the swelling, as well as provide your ankle with some support. Finally, you should elevate your ankle as much as possible by reclining and propping it up. It’s best to elevate your ankle either above your waist or your heart for optimal recovery.
With a grade 2 sprain, you would follow the same steps. While the grade 1 may take a week to heal, a grade 2 may take up to a month. Grade 3 sprains are rare and may require casting or surgery.
For a Fracture
If you fracture your ankle, your treatment will involve casting, taping, wrapping, or booting, depending upon the type and severity of the fracture. Much like a sprain, it is important to rest and elevate a fractured ankle. A fracture usually takes 4 to 8 weeks to heal. Once the cast comes off, you may have to follow the R.I.C.E. method until you regain strength in your ankle.
Rehabilitating Your Ankle
If you have a sprained or fractured ankle, you need to properly rehabilitate it in order to regain your full strength and flexibility. The first phase of rehabilitation is the R.I.C.E. method. The second phase is helping your ankle regain flexibility, strength, and range of motion by walking and putting weight on it. The last phase is exercising your ankle in order to strengthen the muscles and ligaments further.
Be sure to follow these steps to help your ankle heal properly. If you have any questions or concerns about your ankle injury, contact us today to schedule an appointment.