Whether you’re an athlete at the top of your game, an avid runner, or the weekend warrior, chances are you’ve had or know someone who has had an ankle injury. If you’re an active person, a simple sprain could get in the way of your daily life. After an ankle injury, there’s no time to dwell on how long it will take to feel better, the quicker you react the quicker the healing will happen. We know it can be devastating, so we’ve gathered some tips and first steps you should be taking after you experience an ankle injury to get you well on your way to recovery.
The first step is to assess the situation. We always suggest visiting your physician or healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and to rule out a fracture.
If you’re experiencing tenderness, pain, swelling, or bruising, you have likely sprained your ankle. Once those ligaments on the outside of your ankle have been sprained, the likelihood of re-occurrence is quite high. This is why it is so important to take care if it properly the first time.
- COMPRESSION. You can use any number of things to obtain a good amount of compression around the ankle. The Aircast brand of ankle supports has a number of suitable braces that offer compression, stability and a massaging effect for the initial stages of an ankle injury. These will both protect your ligaments from further damage and encourage quicker healing time to get you back to the game/sport or activity.
- ICE. Let’s face it, nobody likes to ice, but when rehabbing an ankle injury, icing should be a priority. Icing your ankle immediately after an injury: 15-20min every couple of hours for the first 2-3 days is extremely important to the healing process. This will help reduce the amount of swelling and relieve some of the pain. There are tons of great icing options out there to make the process more fun (yep – I said fun!), and enjoyable. The key is finding the right icing option for you!
- ELEVATE. Raising your foot up to the same level or higher than your heart immediately after the injury will also help in reducing the amount of swelling that will set in. Continue to do this as much as you can for the first few days.
- REST. Stay off your feet as much as you can for the first few days, but as soon as the pain starts to subside, you need to start moving your ankle around so you don’t lose any range of motion.
An injured ligament can take up to 16 weeks to heal, although sometimes after a couple of weeks you will feel like you are back to normal. Don’t be fooled! There are some simple yet effective exercise you can do in order strengthen the ankle and increase your range of motion. Move your ankle side-to-side and point your toes and try raising your legs up in the air. This will help improve and strengthen your range so your ankle doesn’t get weak while resting.
If you or someone you know is having a problem with their ankle please come on into our stores and talk to an expert, or contact us today for more information.