Twisting or turning your ankle awkwardly may result in a painful sprain. Sprained ankles are more common when participating in sports or some physical activities. Here are the measures to take when experiencing a sprained ankle.
Seek a Medical Evaluation or Assessment
Although you may be able to treat your ankle with home care, always see a doctor for evaluation. Some sprains are more serious than others are, and if you have torn a ligament or suffered a fracture, further treatment may be necessary. If you cannot see your regular doctor, visit your urgent care facility. The urgent care doctor will physically examine your foot and ankle and look for signs of swelling and tenderness. Testing your range of motion may help the doctor with a diagnosis. He or she may note whether bruising is present, as this is also a sign of a sprained ankle. The doctor may ask you if pain is present when you exert pressure on your foot or while turning your ankle. If the doctor suspects more than a sprain, they may order an x-ray or magnetic resonance testing (MRI) to make a conclusive diagnosis. After they have made the diagnosis, they may give you medication for pain and swelling, as well as instructions for at-home care.
Rest Your Affected Ankle
Although you likely know not to apply pressure on a sprained ankle, you may be inclined to push the limits with work or household chores, and doing so is not a good idea. Your sprained ankle needs time to heal. Walking or standing for long periods may worsen your injury, thus making the healing process longer. If possible, take a few days off from work and errand running. Keep your affected foot elevated for periods at a time throughout the day. Doing so may help ease the discomfort you experience. If you find not placing pressure on your ankle difficult to do, use crutches or a transport wheelchair to get around.
Ice Your Ankle Properly
If swelling is present, your doctor may recommend applying ice to the area for the first few days to reduce swelling and inflammation. Wrap some ice in a washcloth or towel and apply it to the injured ankle for up to 20 minutes at a time. You may ice the ankle for a few times a day. You should never apply ice directly to the skin without a covering, as this may cause frostbite. If you prefer, use a bag of frozen vegetables on the swollen ankle as a makeshift ice pack, as this should work just as well.
Consider Post-Injury Rehabilitation
After the swelling has subsided and your ankle has healed, you might want to try some ankle exercises to regain strength and mobility. Rehabilitation may also help you prevent re-injuring the same ankle in the near future. The doctor might want to prescribe physical therapy with a trained therapist to help you recover faster. Alternatively, you might try some exercises at home. Your self-care regimen may include range-of-motion exercises to regain better mobility after your initial injury heals. Your therapist or doctor may demonstrate how to do the exercises correctly. As a final thought, do not attempt any physical exercises or at-home therapy without first consulting your doctor. Also, do not resume your normal activities without first getting approval from the doctor. If you feel you may have sprained your ankle and you have experienced swelling and pain, visit Premier Urgent Care Centers of California, Inc., for an examination. We are happy to help you and answer all of your questions and concerns.