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Treating Ankle Sprains
If you have ever had an ankle sprain, you know how significantly the sprain affected every movement you made. Ligaments don’t have as good a blood supply as bone and muscle. Therefore, it takes them longer to heal. Knowing what to do once you get a sprain, all the way through until weeks after, will help to decrease any compensations and injury risk in the future. Because your foot is the first part of your body to contact the floor when you walk, any alteration in your foot mechanics will affect the entire body. As soon as possible after injury, be sure to ice and elevate the foot and ankle in order to decrease pain, swelling, and inflammation. Keep the foot in a brace to provide support and to decrease pooling of blood and fluid into the foot.
It is also a good idea to see your doctor to get any imaging and medication
prescribed. You may be provided crutches as well to help decrease weight bearing to the foot. If you use a cane or one crutch, be sure to use the crutch on the side opposite of the injured foot. Too often people place the crutch or cane on the same side as the injured foot. This, however, may lead the person to bend his or her spine towards the injury. I highly recommend getting an evaluation by a physical therapist to ensure that your gait is as normal as possible to prevent any compensation, and to know what range of motion exercises you should start doing right away to prevent your ankle from getting stiff.
By Ryan Kahanu, PT, DPT