Steps to Care for a Sprained Ankle

Not treating your sprained ankle properly is like refusing to patch a flat, leaky tire. Sure, you can fill the tire up with air repeatedly and drive for a little while. It won’t take long for the leak to deflate the tire again, though, and the longer it goes unpatched, the worse the damage gets. Your sprain is similar. Sure, you can “patch” it with first aid and a few days of rest, but if you don’t commit to the right steps for recovery, you risk chronic pain and instability later.

Thousands of people sprain their ankle every day. It’s a common and painful injury that affects both young and old alike. It’s also an injury that many people take for granted—which can lead to people not taking care of it the way they should. Sprains need proper treatment to fully recover, otherwise you risk chronic ankle instability and other problems.

Taking care of a sprain the right way, however, isn’t hard if you know how. There are three stages: acute care, restoration, and returning to activities.

Acute Care – This includes your first aid treatment. Follow the RICE procedure to alleviate swelling. Put as little weight as you can on your ankle for several days, and keep it as stable as possible. If the damage is severe, you might need to wear a cast and use crutches.

Restoration – Once your ligaments are safe to stretch again, you need to work on regaining your joint flexibility, range of motion, and power. This means physical therapy to stretch safely and rebuild your ankle strength.

Returning to Activities – Once your ankle has fully healed, you can start easing back into your activities. You’ll need to take it slow and work on conditioning your feet to handle the strain of your work, sports, exercise, or other daily tasks that may stress it.

How long this whole process takes will depend on the severity of the original sprained ankle. The more serious the damage, the longer it will take for your ligaments to heal. Remember, the sooner you start treating your sprain, the better it is for you ankle. Let Dr. Darren Silvester and the Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic staff help you heal. Just call (830) 569-3338 or use the web request form to make an appointment with us.


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