A sprained ankle can feel like a sharp pain when the injury occurs, followed by throbbing and swelling. It can be difficult to put weight on the ankle and you may need to use crutches or a walking boot. All in all, a sprained ankle can make it hard to do your normal activities.
You need to take good care of your ankle, so that it heals completely and without any issues. Mild sprains usually get better on their own, but it doesn’t mean you should not take your recovery seriously. Oftentimes, it is also difficult to gauge the severity of your ankle sprain without the assessment of a medical professional.
Here, we will talk about common doctor recommendations for how to take care of a sprained ankle.
Rest Your Ankle and the Rest of Your Body
Your doctor will likely recommend that you avoid putting weight on your injured ankle for a few days while the injury heals. You are likely to experience pain and swelling in the days following the injury. Expect your doctor’s advice to focus on resting for a few days after the injury, especially if your ankle still hurts. A well-rested body will have an easier time recovering from an injury.
Ice Your Ankle
Apply ice to the injured area for 20 minutes at a time and do this several times a day, especially during the first 48 hours of the injury. This will help to reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling. You can use ice cubes wrapped in a towel or ice packs.
Use a Compression Bandage
Wrap your injured ankle in a compression bandage. A compression bandage helps a sprained ankle heal by providing support and stability to the ankle joint. The bandage also helps reduce swelling and inflammation, which can help speed up the healing process. Be sure not to wrap too tightly, as this can cause additional problems such as tingling or numbness in the foot/toes due to restricted blood flow. Your doctor can show you how to properly wrap your ankle in a compression bandage to maximize healing.
Keep Your Affected Leg Elevated
Keep your foot elevated above heart level whenever possible. This can be done by propping it up on pillows when sitting or lying down. When you keep your leg elevated, it takes the pressure off your ankle and allows it to rest, helping speed up the healing process and reduce swelling.
Take Anti-Inflammatory Medication
Take over-the-counter (OTC) anti-inflammatory medication to help with pain and swelling. This should bring you temporary relief while your ankle heals.
Do Physical Therapy Exercises
After the initial period of rest and icing, you may benefit from physical therapy exercises that stretch and strengthen the tissues around your ankle. Here are some commonly prescribed exercises for patients with ankle sprains:
- Heel slides: Sit on the edge of a chair with your injured leg extended straight out in front of you and your other leg bent at the knee with your foot flat on the floor. Slowly slide your heel along the floor until it is as close to your buttock as possible. Return to the first position slowly and repeat at least 10 times.
- Toe raises: Stand up straight with both feet flat on the ground, keeping weight evenly distributed between them. Gently raise your injured foot off of the ground, holding for two seconds before lowering back down again. Repeat 10 times.
Exercising before you are ready and not doing it correctly can be worse for your condition. To be completely safe, consult an injury doctor who can recommend physical therapy exercises.
Ankle Injury Doctor in Rochester, NY
It is recommended that you see a doctor for an ankle sprain, regardless of whether you think it is a minor or major injury. Moderate to severe ankle sprains require immobilization, which a doctor can provide. Ultimately, it’s better to receive ankle sprain treatment from an experienced doctor than to self-treat at home.
The urgent care providers at The Cornerstone Urgent Care Center can provide comprehensive treatment for your ankle sprain. We will make sure to monitor your healing, advise you on what to do next, and counsel you on how to reduce your risk for complications, such as ankle instability.
We are a walk-in clinic in Rochester, which means an appointment is not necessary. We are located at 2968 Chili Ave. You can check in online for faster processing. Our friendly providers look forward to serving you!