Most of us have felt it at one time or another - a sprained ankle, swollen ankle or simple a lot of pain from a recent or past injury.
The technical name of sprained ankle, is defined as a twisting injury to the ankle. Upwards of 80% of the time it is caused by rolling the foot inward, stretching or tearing the ligaments that hold the ankle and foot bones in place. If treatment is not carried out properly it can lead to instability and regular re-injury - indeed, spraining your ankle can increase your risk of re-injury as much as 40-70%.
Proper treatment for sprained and swollen ankles starts right away with RICE - an acronym for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
You should immediately cease all activities that cause pain or limping.
- Ice :
This is crucial, and the sooner you do it the quicker you will recover. Place a plastic bag with ice on your ankle for 15-20 minutes, up to 5 times a day for the first 24-72 hours. Allow at least 1 1/2 hours between applications.
- Compression :
Wrap an elastic bandage from the toes to mid calf, applying even pressure. Check your toes regularly and loosen the wrap if they start to turn blue or feel cold. Wear this bandage until the swelling decreases.
- Elevate :
In the first couple of days, spend as much time as possible with your ankle elevated above heart level.
Once the swelling and pain have reduced, consult your doctor for a programme of rehabilitation exercises to prevent re-injury and restore normal range of motion.