An ankle injury is one of the most common injuries that affects everyone from young children to adults to the elderly. Whether the injury is a roll, twist, or sprain or something more serious such as a bone break, ligament tear, or fracture, it is vital that you get the right treatment to ensure that the injury is taken care of immediately and won’t lead to lifelong pain problems. If you injured your ankle in a sports activity, at the gym, or simply by falling, treating ankle injuries can be done swiftly and effectively. In this post, learn about these 15 simple tips on treating your ankle injury in order to achieve both immediate and long-term relief.
- Take Pain Medication: Depending on the severity of the pain from the ankle injury, you may want to take some over-the-counter ibuprofen or other generic pain reliever according to the recommended dosage displayed on the bottle. Don’t take anything stronger unless it is prescribed by your physician or an ankle pain specialist.
- Rest: Whether your ankle injury just happened or you have had the injury for several weeks, rest is critical. Limit the amount of stress and weight you put on the injured area and keep the leg up as often as possible. Rest is key in regaining strength and ensuring no further injury is caused.
- Ice: Typically, an injured ankle comes with swelling in the fractured, strained, or broken area. While resting your ankle, apply ice for roughly 15-20 minutes every hour until the swelling goes down.
- Compress: Compressing the injured ankle is a tried and true way of ensuring that the swelling goes down. Wrap a compression bandage around the area without making it too tight. If the pain increases or you begin experiencing cooling or tingling sensations, you should loosen the bandage as these are signs that it is too tight. Another alternative to consider is the use of an ankle brace for more serious, long-term ankle injuries.
- Elevate: Immediately after the injury, it is important that you keep the ankle elevated above the heart as often as possible. Try to elevate it at least two to three hours a day and while sleeping at night. Prop the ankle up on some pillows while you rest and ice it. Elevation will help reduce the bruising and swelling. If the pain and swelling do not decrease after two to three days, it is time to consult a medical professional.
- Sleep in The Proper Position: If you are a restless sleeper, you may have trouble keeping still and lying on your back while you rest. But this is the best thing you can do when you have an ankle injury. Refrain from sleeping in awkward and twisted positions that could lead you to furthering injuring the ankle in your sleep. Keep your ankle raised on pillows with additional pillows around it to maintain support and prevent you from moving around while you are sleeping.
- Keep Weight Off: Especially after the injury has just occurred, it is important to stay off the foot. Consider crutches or using a brace if the ankle can still handle some pressure but needs support. The best way to know how to handle the injured area is by talking about the different ankle support options you have with a medical professional.
- Get The Right Diagnosis: In most cases, a twisted or sprained ankle will not require professional medical attention. However, in more serious cases such as a fracture or clean break, it is critical that you are treated by a doctor immediately. If using the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compress, elevate) method of treatment has not healed the ankle, it is a good indication that it is time to see a doctor. In the case that it is a fracture or a break, a brace or cast with crutches may be needed for four to six weeks.
- Ease Your Way Into Exercise: Once the injured ankle begins to heal, you can start to look into some light exercises or physical therapy options. If your ankle is broken and you are put in a cast, your muscles will have atrophied over the last six weeks and will require simple strengthening exercises to regain stability and mobility. In less severe cases like a twisted ankle, you still want to be cautious about the amount of exercise you perform right away. Steer clear of intensive running in the beginning and focus more on squats, lunges, and toe raises.
- Perform Balance And Control Exercises: It is critical to remember that these exercises should not be performed without the consent of a physical therapist or pain specialist beforehand. Once you get the OK and no longer feel pain in the injured area, you should take a few minutes each day to work on balance and control exercises. For example, you can stand on the injured leg for a few seconds, but cease if pain occurs.
- Perform Mobility Exercises: Most people think that after a serious ankle injury, they have to focus on strengthening exercises. While strengthening exercises are crucial, mobility exercises are just as important. Practice moving the joint in different directions (circular motions, side to side, and up and down) to maintain flexibility and increase range of motion. Often, your range of motion deteriorates after being in a cast or brace for an extended period of time.
- Perform Stretching Exercises: As soon as you no longer have pain in the injured area, you can begin performing stretching exercises. You will want to do this as your ankle heals in order to keep the Achilles tendon flexible.
- Stay Away From What Will Harm You: When you are self-treating an ankle injury and wanting to make sure it heals fully, you will need to steer clear of a couple of items that will only cause more harm. During the injury, don’t apply heat to the ankle, drink alcohol (especially when you are prescribed certain medications), massage the area, or run on the foot. Also, even long after the ankle has healed, you will want to stay away from wearing heels for some time.
- Choose Shoes With Support: When you are in the post-injury phase or are going through physical rehabilitation, choose shoes that provide both comfort and support. Supportive footwear that protects the heel and arch will keep the ligaments from becoming injured further. As stated above, it is imperative that heels are not worn during this time.
- Prepare For Additional Swelling: Particularly after a serious break, you should prepare to experience more swelling in the ankle for up to a year. In order to keep the area healed, ease your way into rigorous exercise and ice the ankle anytime it starts to swell after a workout. Additionally, long periods of walking could also cause the ankle to swell again. Consider using a compression bandage while working out to keep the area from swelling more than it should.
For more advice on ways to self-treat an ankle injury or any other bodily injury, contact us today. We offer the necessary medical supplies for a variety of injuries and have the most experienced, specialized staff to work with you on what you need. We will also discuss the different options you have for braces and other supports for any ankle, back, wrist, or knee injury you have.