No matter your lifestyle, a sprained ankle can strike at any time. Sprains are one of the most common injuries; roughly 25,000 people deal with them each day. Because they’re so common, there are many misconceptions about sprain care and what the best method of treatment really is. We’re here to set the record straight! From treatment plans to rehabilitation hacks, we have you covered. Sprain, begone!
How a Sprain Happens
When you sprain your ankle, you’re tearing or stretching the ligaments that connect your ankle bones together. Usually, the ankle bends inward, causing pain on the outer side of it. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell a sprain from a fracture, especially when you’re unable to put weight on the affected ankle. We recommend visiting with your doctor and telling them exactly what happened when you got the sprain.
Sprain Care Basics: R.I.C.E.
There’s more to sprain care than just popping pain medication. Remember RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Resting a sprain is the most important thing to remember. If you’ve sprained your ankle, avoid putting weight on it. If it’s your wrist we’re talking about, don’t lift anything. We suggest using crutches if necessary and wearing a brace whenever possible.
Ice is absolutely essential for keeping swelling at bay. Wrap a cold pack or small bag of ice in a soft cloth and apply to the skin for less than 20 minutes at a time. Plus, the cold sensation will temporarily numb any pain you’re feeling.
If your sprain is swollen beyond recognition, compression is a must. It controls swelling, immobilizes the affected area, and provides much-needed support. You can find compression in the form of a brace or compression wrap.
Elevating your injury also helps with swelling. Prop up your sprained ankle or wrist so that it’s above your heart or waist. It’s okay to be lazy! Resting and reclining are vital to healing.
Yes, it’s definitely tempting to rush back into being active after your sprain is healed. But, think about rehabilitation. Don’t skip this step! Rehabilitating an injury lowers your chances of re-injuring yourself. You’ve likely already completed the first phase: resting and relaxation. Next up: restoring flexibility, range of motion, and strength. Taking the healing process slow will help you in the long run.
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