If you are reading this, you have likely twisted your ankle and are unsure how to proceed. Today, we are going to cover what you should do next and your available options.
Get a Diagnosis
Did you know that nearly 2 million people sprain an ankle each year? It is a common injury with the majority of sprains being minor, which can be self-treated with the RICE treatment (see below). However, severe sprains will need to be checked by a physician to prevent further damage.
If you are experiencing extreme bruising, large amounts of swelling, cannot bear any weight on your foot without significant pain, or have gone several days without any improvement, you need to seek medical attention for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
During the examination, the doctor will examine your sprain and may recommend an x-ray, M.R.I., CT scan, or ultrasound to rule out broken bones or other internal damage. In addition, they will ask about how the ankle came to be sprained as well as your current and previous medical states (including past injuries).
When you have a minor ankle sprain, Mayo Clinic recommends the use of the R.I.C.E. method.
R – Rest: Avoid activities that could cause pain, swelling, discomfort, or further damage.
I – Ice: Ice your ankle immediately after the sprain for 15 to 20 minutes. You will want to repeat this every two to three hours, except when sleeping. You can use an ice pack or ice slush bath.
C – Compression: To help with swelling, compress your ankle using an elastic bandage. You will want to start wrapping at the end farthest away from your heart, then proceed up toward yourself. Be sure not to wrap so tightly as to hinder circulation and unwrap the bandage after the swelling has stopped.
E – Elevation: Another technique to help with swelling is to elevate your leg above the level of your heart, especially during the night.
Suppose you have experienced a severe sprain and need additional aid beyond the body’s natural ability to heal itself. In that case, your doctor may recommend therapy or surgery, depending on your specific condition.
After injuring your ankle, you may feel discomfort or pain. Doctors will likely suggest over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, for pain management. You may also experience hindered or uncomfortable mobility. Depending on your specific case, a doctor may recommend an ankle brace, sports tape, cast, or walking boot for ankle stabilization. They may also recommend the use of crutches or a cane.
See a Physician at First Care
Are you experiencing symptoms of a severe ankle sprain, or want to get it checked out just to be sure? Book an appointment with your local First Care today. Our highly trained physicians will diagnose and treat your injury quickly and efficiently; there is no need to go to the E.R. or wait days for an appointment with your primary care physician. Book an appointment HERE.