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Written by 1:20 pm Health & Fitness

How To Reduce Pain In A Swollen Or Sprained Ankle

How To Reduce Pain In A Swollen Or Sprained Ankle

Before talking about how to treat a swollen or sprained ankle, it is important to understand why it occurs in the first place. A sprained ankle is an injury that occurs when an ankle gets rolled or twisted in a way that is not natural to its normal function. Most sprained ankle injuries are directly related to the ligaments connected to your ankle, which are designed to prevent excessive movement in particular directions for stability purposes. An injury can occur if the ankle is forced to move beyond the limits of these ligaments, causing stretching or tearing.

While this type of injury can heal on its own, it usually requires special treatment and alterations to a daily schedule to ensure it heals completely and properly. It is possible that in very minor cases, self-care and over-the-counter medications are sufficient to provide a full recovery. For more severe cases, it requires greater measures to heal correctly.

Consult your Physician

First and foremost, use your judgment effectively. It is always recommended to seek a medical evaluation to determine the extent of your injuries, especially if pain persists or swelling intensifies. Make sure you are evaluating yourself objectively and take the appropriate course of action for the pain that you feel.

If you feel as though your injuries are severe enough to be unable to heal on their own or simply wish not to take the chance that your self-diagnosis is accurate, it never hurts to consult a medical professional. The first step usually involves a physical performed in their office, where they will check for tender areas and for range of motion. If your injuries are deemed to be severe enough, they may require X-rays or CT scans to check for bone fractures, MRIs to examine the state of soft tissues and ligaments, or ultrasound for real-time images to see how the internal structures of the foot look while in motion. Always follow the advice of your medical professional, as they would usually have the best recommendations for healing in the fastest and most effective ways.

Take Time To Recover

As with many injuries of this nature, there are a few common practices that are usually effective in easing discomfort and allow for faster healing in the early stages of the injury, and are generally recommended by physicians. These practices form what is known as the RICE method, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Occasionally, when an examination is not possible due to low range of motion or excessive swelling, this regimen is usually recommended to aid in accelerating a reduction in swelling.

 

  • Rest: It is always preferable to allow for rest, as extended use of the ankle and associated ligaments can aggravate the injury and make the swelling or pain worse in the long run. With the weakened state of the ankle, you are also at a greater risk of hyperextending the ligaments again, which could set you back to the beginning, or make the injury worse. The first 24 to 48 hours are the most critical, and it is recommended to get as much rest as possible during this time.
  • Ice: As swelling involves expansion, the application of ice could help to reduce swelling, and it is usually recommended to apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes every two to three hours while you are awake.
  • Compression: Compression bandages and wraps are a great method of reducing swelling, so long as the area is not wrapped too tightly to cut off circulation. ACE bandages or elastic ankle sleeves are good options for this.
  • Elevation: It is important to elevate your ankle above the level of your heart, especially at night. This will allow excess fluid to drain from the area and help moderate swelling. Try to find a position that creates the least amount of discomfort as possible, and allows you to keep your ankle at a relatively normal angle.

 

Recovering fully from a sprained ankle usually involves range of motion exercises to strengthen ligaments and supporting muscles. Treatments focused on restoring ankle function have been proven to show a faster rate of healing. These are usually performed if ligaments have not been completely torn through, or if the exercises will not further damage affected areas. As always, consult your doctor if you have any concerns regarding exercises, or if pain worsens as a result of the prescribed motions.

 

In the first one to two weeks, exercises are usually focused on your ankle’s range of motion. These largely focus on ensuring the ankle does not become locked or frozen due to disuse, and will likely mean less pain when eventually attempting to put weight on the ankle. The following weeks are largely focused on strength, allowing you to use your weight to stretch your ankles further, and allow them to be stronger faster.

Support Your Ankle Using Kinesiology Tape

Finally, in the later stages of sprained ankle healing, it is recommended to return to active form as soon as you are able. These still require supporting your ankle with external devices, including splints or crutches potentially in conjunction with elastic bandages, braces or kinesiology taping to allow for added support while moving around. Make sure you are monitoring your situation accordingly, and only perform actions that you feel comfortable doing that does not feel like they are making the injury worse. Ensure you are continuing your additional recommended treatments, and only cease treatment when instructed. If you stop treatment too early, your ankle could still be in a weakened state and may have a greater risk of rolling again should you put weight on your foot in just the right way.

Above all else, patience is key. There is no fast and easy solution to fixing a sprained or swollen ankle; your body needs time to recover. With the right combination of treatments and effective kinesiology tape, you will be back to your normal self in no time, and you will thank yourself for taking the time to treat your body correctly.

Author’s Bio

Colin Hegarty is a content writer for BreezeMaxWeb that helps businesses showcase their brand through enticing copy. When he’s not working, you can find him playing net in a local beer league or biking around the city.

 

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