Ankle sprains happen to be one of the most common injuries. Some people may think they are merely limited to athletic events or practices, but anyone who walks to get around has a certain degree of risk for sustaining this injury. As such, it’s important to know what to do when one happens.
When you sprain an ankle, and especially if the injury happens during an athletic activity (game, practice, etc.), the first thing you need to do is remove yourself from the activity. Once you’re on the sidelines, it’s time for RICE (not the grain!). When you see it in all caps like that, RICE usually stands for:
- Rest – This is a key component of first aid for sprained ankles, but too often—particularly in athletics—people are inclined to just “walk it off.” Instead of attempting to return to action, you need to give your body rest.
- Ice – Icing your sprained ankle will help to not only reduce swelling and inflammation in the area, but it can help decrease pain as well. When applying ice, be sure to wrap it in a thin towel to prevent damaging your skin.
- Compression – Much like ice, compression is a valuable first aid step that will help reduce swelling. When you wrap up your ankle, be careful about doing it too tight. If you start to feel tingling followed by numbness, loosen the wrap a bit.
- Elevation – A great way to supplement the rest you are giving your injured ankle is to lay down and prop your foot up on some pillows. Keeping the affected joint above heart level will further help decrease swelling in the area.
RICE is a time-proven method for relieving pain, reducing inflammation, and getting you started on the path to eventual recovery.
Whereas first aid is a great starting point for treating an ankle sprain, keep in mind that is not the final step. Also, ankle sprains and ankle fractures have several symptoms in common. This highlights the importance of having the injury accurately diagnosed.
Our team can evaluate the injury, create a treatment plan, and help you get back to your favorite activities in the shortest possible amount of time. Of course, this all begins when you contact Southern Oregon Foot & Ankle.Call us today at (541) 776-3338 to request additional information or schedule an appointment with our Medford office.