According to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS), around 25,000 Americans suffer ankle sprains every day. Staggering as this is, it does beg the question “Why?” While there is no straightforward answer to this, we should try to avoid injuries in the first place. This article targets the many among us that have just received the bad news of a sprained ankle.
Occasionally, an awkward moment strikes when you lose your balance. Initially, the pain subsides and you continue. Warning! The sprain could be more severe than you realize. Your ankle might inflame and begin to hurt so much, that you can no longer stand. Contact your physician immediately before you go further. Alternately, follow this article for some wise advice.
Inner vs. Outer Ankle Sprains
An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments supporting the ankle tear or become over-stretched. Slow diagnosis or inappropriate treatment can result in long-term issues. This is why it is imperative to see a health practitioner as soon as possible. Two types of ankle sprains occur, inversion or eversion. Inversion sprains affect the outside of the ankle and are more common. Inside ankle pains are invariably more serious because the ligaments connect to the arch of the foot.
Treating the Injury
In most cases, ankle sprains do not require surgery. A rehabilitation program approved by your medical practitioner is the most common treatment for minor sprains. Your health provider will determine the number of ligaments affected after viewing an x-ray of the injury. This helps them decide whether your sprain is grade I, II, or III in terms of severity.
Correct treatment of ankle sprains helps avoid chronic pain that may otherwise follow. Using the R. I. C. E. methodology is a good starting point. This acronym stands for:
R. I. C. E. is Sound Advice
Grade l Ankle Sprains
Rest the affected ankle by not using it while walking. The use of crutches is appropriate because it is safe to apply some weight if there is no fracture. Ankle braces help control any swelling, and provide stability during the healing process.
Ice – Applying ice around the injury helps control swelling. Wear a sock and immerse the ankle in a foot bath containing ice for up to 20 minutes.
Compression – This also helps control swelling, but follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
Elevate – Raise the injured foot by reclining and propping it up above your waist or heart.
Grade ll Ankle Sprains
Same as above, but allowing more time for healing. Your doctor may decide to splint your sprained ankle.
Grade lll Ankle Sprains
Grade III sprains are at risk of causing permanent ankle instability, hence the need to follow advice from your health practitioner. In some cases, surgery may be required to repair the damage, particularly in the case of active sports persons.
Localized Cryotherapy is an Option
Depending on the severity of your ankle sprain, localized cryotherapy may help fast track the recovery process. The use of a cryo hand-held device allows more precision in treating the target area, your ankle sprain for example. Application of cryogenic nitrogen gas during strain treatment can continue for up to 10 minutes, with immediate benefits such as a reduction of any swelling.
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