Many of us, especially athletes, will experience a sprained ankle at some point. Ankle sprains are among the most common injuries, especially for sports injuries, due to the weak musculature surrounding the ankle. Walking on uneven ground, pivoting quickly, running, walking on the beach – you name it, you can sprain your ankle doing it. Your ankle is the first joint that touches the ground when walking or running, making it easy to injure. Once you sprain or injure your ankle, it can cause micro-tears to the ligaments causing an increased risk of another sprain.
When we sprain our ankles, we typically put a brace or tape the ankle to give support to the ankle to prevent it from happening again. Although this is a good short-term solution while the pain is going away, this is not a good long-term solution due to the continued weakening of the ankle because we have an outside source doing the ankle’s job. You need to know what to do to safely take care of your injury and prevent it from worsening.
Here are the top ankle sprain tips for preventing and healing a sprained ankle.
Stretching Before Exercise
You should always stretch before doing any type of exercise. Here are a few stretches that can help prevent you from injuring your ankle.
Heel raises – Raise your heels off the ground, hold for 5 seconds and lower slowly. Repeat 20 times.
Toe raises – Raise your toes off the ground so you are on your heels, hold for 5 seconds and slowly lower. Repeat 20 times.
Ankle ABC’s – Laying on your back, trace the ABC’s in the air with your ankles.
Resisted ankle range of motion – Using a resistance band, wrap around your foot and do resisted inversion, eversion, dorsiflexion, and plantar flexion.
Single leg balance – Stand on one leg and balance. Challenge this even further by standing on an uneven surface or closing your eyes. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 4-5 times on each leg.
Treat Injuries Quickly
If you do experience an ankle sprain, you need to know how to treat it carefully. Two of the most common treatment methods are the RICE and MEAT methods. A combination of these two methods is the best way to help heal a sprained ankle. You want to give the ankle the rest that it needs depending on the severity of the injury, but you also need to keep it moving or you will slow down the process even more.
Rest – Rest and protect the injured or sore area.
Ice – Apply ice or a cold pack to the injured area to prevent swelling and pain.
Compression – Compression or wrapping the injured area to help prevent swelling or decrease swelling.
Elevation – Clevate the ankle to help alleviate some of the swelling.
Movement – Controlled movement of the limb can stimulate blood flow to the area, which is proven to accelerate the healing process. This does not mean to continue to do what you did to injure the ankle; simple ABC’s of your ankle, to keep the blood flowing and your ankle moving.
Exercise – This goes hand in hand with the above statement for movement; controlled movements such as active range of motion, ankle ABCs, circles, and weight shifting.
Analgesics – Take something to help alleviate the pain you are having. It is best to find a natural way to fight inflammation and not take anti-inflammatory medication. which can hinder and slow down the process.
Treatments – Seek treatment by going to see a physical therapist. During physical therapy treatments, they are able to utilize modalities to increase blood flow, and know the appropriate exercises and stretches for foot and ankle pain.
Get Help from Experienced Physical Therapists
Physical therapy can be extremely beneficial for helping for preventing your ankle sprain from getting worse and aiding in your recovery. At Robbins Rehabilitation West, we can help you get over your ankle sprain safely. We provide physical therapy for people experiencing various pains and injuries, such as heel pain, and give them the professional care they need to relieve pain and recover from their injuries.
If you recently suffered an ankle sprain, contact us today at (610) 770-7217.