Caring for a Sprained Ankle

Sprained Ankle

Whether you play pick-up basketball on the weekends or take walks around the neighborhood, there’s always that chance of twisting an ankle. Not only can it be painful, but also disruptive of your everyday life.

Not every sprain is equal (there are three different grades of sprains) but knowing and following the R.I.C.E. guidelines is the best approach for initial treatment.

  1. Rest- Avoid putting weight on your sprain and use crutches if you have them.
  2. Ice- Icing a sprained joint for the first 48-72 hours is common practice and should be done for 10-20 minutes every 1-2 hours.
  3. Compression- Whether you have a specialty wrap or a pair of compression socks it’s advised you compress the sprain for the first 24-36 hours.
  4. Elevation- To reduce the amount of blood flow to the injury you need to keep the sprained area above your heart for 2-3 hours a day.

As the days pass and swelling begins to subside you can begin a simple at-home rehabilitation process by stretching and then strengthening the sprain. The general recovery process for a sprain takes a few weeks and includes:

  1. Rest and reduction of swelling (R.I.C.E.)
  2. Restoring flexibility and strength with simple exercises
  3. Gradually returning to light activity

Your first response to any sprain should be to follow the R.I.C.E. guidelines, but if the pain immediately following an injury is excruciating or if the swelling is excessive, then use our OrthoDirect same-day injury service to get a specialist’s opinion. We accept walk-ins or you can call ahead for the next available appointment at 320-257-STAT.