How Do I Treat an Ankle Sprain?
The ankle is a joint that is put under a lot of pressure to support the body while walking, running, jumping, and standing. With four ligaments stabilizing and supporting the ankle, there is a lot of opportunity for injury. Ankle sprains are one of the most common ankle injuries, and most of the time, it is something that can be treated at home.
How to Tell If You Sprained Your Ankle
If you twisted, bent, or fell on your ankle and experienced any kind of pain, it’s possible that you sprained your ankle. There are degrees of severity in sprained ankles, but the symptoms of a sprain include swelling and tenderness, and in more severe sprains, bruising. While extremely severe sprained ankles may require a cast or crutches, milder sprains can often be treated at home.
RICE: Sprained Ankle Treatment
The standard treatment for a sprained ankle is RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Rest is the most critical piece of the treatment, because staying off the strained or sprained ankle will help you heal more quickly. Ice can help reduce swelling and pain, though you may also need to take an NSAID like ibuprofen. Compression also helps keep the swelling to a minimum – an Ace bandage or brace is often needed. Elevation is the final component of at-home treatment for an ankle sprain, also to help reduce swelling.
Healing from a Sprained Ankle
A minor sprained ankle should heal within a week or two, but a more severe sprained ankle can take 6-8 weeks or more to fully heal. You’ll need to be very careful while you have a sprain, because in the weakened state, it is easy to re-sprain your ankle or cause further injury.
Do I Need to See a Doctor?
Many sprained ankles are minor enough to be treated at home. However, if you hear a loud popping sound when the injury occurs, or if there is severe swelling, bruising, or the area becomes hot to the touch, you should seek medical attention quickly.
If you are experiencing symptoms of a sprained ankle, visit Specialty Orthopaedics. Our New York orthopedic practice is home to a team of fellowship-trained orthopedists in a variety of orthopedic specialty areas. We offer comprehensive treatment for musculoskeletal disorders in a caring and responsive clinical atmosphere. Give us a call at 914.686.0111 or fill out the form on this page to schedule your appointment today.