Tips on Dealing with a Sprained Ankle

How common is a sprained ankle?  Believe it or not, approximately 25,000 people twist and sprain their ankles daily!  This usually happens when you miss a step, awkwardly lose your balance, or while engaged in sports.

Normally when the sprain is severe you will feel a pop on your ankle once it happens.  Sprains can either be minor or result in the development of long-term joint weakness and pain.  So what do you do when you have a sprained ankle?

RICE Method

When the ligaments are stretched or possibly torn, pain can be felt either at the inner or outer side of your ankle.  Pain at the outer side of your ankle is the most common type while inner side pain can mean injured tendons or ligaments.  For common sprains, the RICE method has proven to be very effective in dealing with the pain and even preventing swelling.  How do you RICE your ankle?

  • Rest – this means not putting any pressure on it. Walking, running, and if possible standing should be avoided.  If you have to stand, make sure that there is ample support for your body weight like crutches.  Ankle braces help stabilize the ligaments and control possible swelling.
  • Ice – the intention is to keep the swelling down by wrapping the ice in a thin cloth and applying it on the area of the ankle for about 20 minutes every hour. This is done within 48 to 72 hours after the injury.  Although there is not much scientific evidence to support the use of ice, it is often used by athletes and trainers when dealing with sprained ankles.
  • Compression –control swelling, immobilizing the ankle, and supporting the injury are the goals of this method. The ankles are usually wrapped for about 1 to 2 days or a week at the most until there is no visible swelling.  Compression wraps work best in supporting the ankle, but they do not offer any type of protection.
  • Elevation – reclining and propping your sprained ankle above the level of your waist or heart is often desired. This is done for about 2 to 3 hours daily to help deal with the swelling and potential bruising of the ankle from the injury.

The RICE method has seen significant results in reducing the swelling of the sprained ankle in just a couple of days.  If the swelling does not subside within a week it is best to consult a medical professional.

Shoe Protection

Another way to deal with sprained ankles is to wear the right type of shoes to prevent the injury or minimize its effect.  There was a time that people (and even shoe manufacturers) believed that high-top shoes were the answer to preventing ankle injuries; but as it turns out, it isn’t true.

In a research done by the University of Oklahoma in 1993, they reported that as far as sprains go, there was not much difference between the foot protections offered by high-tops as compared to low-tops.  The 2001 Cochrane review came up with a similar conclusion and said that braces and orthoses cannot prevent injuries to the ankle ligaments.

What type of shoes should you wear to minimize or prevent sprained ankles?  Here are some things that you should consider:

  • Wear the right type of shoes for the activity you will participate in;
  • Look for shoes with good arch support and grip;
  • Shoes with laces must be tied properly;
  • Soles should provide cushioning especially for jumping activities;
  • Buy shoes that provide increased ankle stability;
  • The toe box should have sufficient room for the toes to splay;
  • The sole must be somewhat flexible at the toe area; and
  • Look for a broad support platform from the heel to the toe.

Having the right type of footwear and paying close attention to the warning signs sent by your body will go a long way in protecting you against sprained ankle injury. Call into your nearest Foot Solutions store today. They have a wide range of supportive footwear to suit your activities.