How to Correctly Treat a Sprained Ankle
Ankle sprains are a very common occurrence and injury that people and children sustain on a regular basis. Sprains typically occur when walking or running over an uneven surface where, for a brief moment, the foot is temporarily stopped. The resulting lack of movement results in the ankle being twisted inwards or outwards. Sometimes the sprain might seem minor, without much pain, and other times there could be the sound of snapping or popping as the bone pops out of the ankle socket or the ligaments are torn.
The key to treating a sprained ankle begins with trying to not walk on the injured foot. Instead, it is better get to a location where you can sit down and elevate the foot. In addition, you should avoid taking any sort of anti-inflammatory pain relieving medication. This will inhibit the body’s natural inflammatory response and slow the healing process. Instead, to treat pain associated with an ankle sprain, place an ice pack onto the affected area and take acetaminophen. The ice slows the blood flow to the area to help control swelling, while the acetaminophen is an over-the-counter pain reliever.
One common treatment method is called RICE: Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. Remembering the steps are simple and easy:
- Rest: Keep all weight off the sprained ankle. Use crutches if necessary.
- Ice: Use ice packs and apply to the affected ankle every few hours the first two or three days. Do not ice the area for more than 20 minutes at a time.
- Compress: You can wrap the ankle in a compression bandage, loosely, to help with swelling over the first few days.
- Elevate: Keep the ankle raised off of the ground as often as possible, as well as above your heart for a few hours each day. This helps with swelling and controlling bruising.
Additionally, do not disregard minor ankle sprains. Even minor sprains can lead to long term problems in the ankle and foot. Use the RICE method, regardless of the severity of the sprain.
If you felt the ankle bone pop or heard a snapping sound, it could indicate a more serious injury. It is worth your time to visit a walk-in clinic in Costa Mesa to have the ankle examined. An urgent care facility costs less than going to the emergency room, and they do accept most insurance plans. Most hospital emergency rooms want to do an x-ray, which is not necessarily needed in many ankle sprain cases. A Costa Mesa urgent care physician is able to examine the ankle, swelling, tenderness, and range of motion without an x-ray, unless there are signs of a break. All an x-ray will show is damage to the bones, not the soft tissue and ligaments.
If you experience a sprained ankle, implement the RICE method immediately and seek medical assistance from Xpress Urgent Care. Feel free to contact us at 949-548-8400 for more information and to learn about the wide range of conditions and illnesses we treat.