What to Do if You’ve Sprained Your Ankle

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A twisted ankle is an incredibly common injury – and not just for athletes. According to one study, 23,000 people a day seek medical care for a sprained ankle. You can imagine how many more people get injured but don’t go to the emergency room or visit their doctor.

What about those people who brave an ankle injury all on their own? Are they acting foolishly? The answer is a resounding “maybe.” At Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland, we know that it can be difficult to discern a minor ankle injury from a major one. And yet, it’s important to make that distinction and treat an injured ankle properly. If a sprained ankle doesn’t heal well, it’s more likely to get injured again.

Here are some general guidelines for treating a sprained ankle.

  1. Immediately following the injury, make a thorough inspection. Seek emergency treatment if you’re in severe pain, if you have an open wound, or if anything looks deformed or out of place (it could be a bone fracture).
  2. For more moderate pain, swelling, and bruising, take the classic approach of RICE:
    REST: don’t put any weight on the affected ankle
    ICE: apply ice several times per day in increments of 15-20 minutes
    COMPRESSION: wrap your ankle in an ACE or similar bandage to reduce swelling
    ELEVATION: keep your foot propped up on a stool, chair, or ottoman as much as                 possible
    Also, take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen to bring the swelling down.
  3. Keep track of the healing process: are your bruises spreading? Is the pain lessening? Is movement getting easier or harder? What makes it feel better? What makes it feel worse?
  4. If you don’t see any improvement in 3-5 days, if symptoms get worse, or if you’re running a fever, make an appointment with one of our expert foot surgeons, Dr. Craig B. Frey or Dr. Megan L. Oltmann. With the help of digital x-rays that we take right here at our office, we can give you a prompt and accurate assessment of the damage, write you a prescription for physical therapy, or even discuss surgical treatments if necessary.

Residents of Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage, and Geauga Counties are welcome at our podiatry office in Solon, Ohio for a caring and professional assessment of all ankle injuries. Call us at (440) 903-1041 or contact us online.