Ice--Using ice packs, ice slush baths or ice massages can decrease the swelling, pain, bruising and muscle spasms. Keep using ice for up to 3 days after the injury.
Compression--Wrapping your ankle may be the best way to avoid swelling and bruising. You'll probably need to keep your ankle wrapped for 1 or 2 days after the injury and perhaps for up to a week or more.
Elevation--Raising your ankle to or above the level of your heart will help prevent the swelling from getting worse and will help reduce bruising. Try to keep your ankle elevated for about 2 to 3 hours a day if possible.
How long before I can use my ankle?
Special exercises are sometimes needed to regain strength and to help reduce the chance of ongoing problems. Your ankle may need to be supported by taping or bracing to help protect it from re-injury.
How soon can I exercise or play sports?
Bicycling, swimming or even running are usually okay to return to right away if they don't cause pain during or after exercise. But you'll still need to avoid pivoting and twisting movements for 2 to 3 weeks.
How can I prevent reinjury?
Special wraps that use hook and loop fasteners, or air-filled or laced braces may also help prevent re-injury. Wearing high-top tennis shoes may also help prevent ankle sprains if your shoes are laced snugly and if you also tape your ankle with a wide, nonelastic adhesive tape. Elastic tape or braces are usually not helpful because the elastic gives too much around the joint.
Once your sprain has completely healed, a program of ankle exercises will also help prevent re-injury by making the muscles stronger, which provides protection to the ligaments. Try the following exercises:
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you. Move your ankle from side to side, up and down and around in circles. Do 5 to 10 circles in each direction at least 3 times per day.
Using your big toe as a "pencil," try to write the letters of the alphabet in the air. Do the entire alphabet 2 or 3 times.
Pull your toes back toward you while keeping your knee as straight as you can. Hold for 15 seconds. Do this 10 times.
Point your toes away from you while keeping your knee as straight as you can. Hold for 15 seconds. Do this 10 times.
In and Out
Turn your foot inward until you can't turn it anymore and hold for 15 seconds. Straighten your leg again. Turn it outward until you can't turn it anymore and hold for 15 seconds. Do this 10 times in both directions.
Resisted In and Out
Sit on a chair with your leg straight in front of you. Tie a large elastic exercise band together at one end to make a knot. Wrap the end of the band around the chair leg and the other end around the bottom of your injured foot. Keep your heel on the ground and slide your foot outward and hold for 10 seconds. Put your foot in front of you again. Slide your foot inward and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat at least 10 times each direction 2 or 3 times per day.
Put your injured foot on the first step of a staircase and your uninjured foot on the ground. Slowly straighten the knee of you injured leg while lifting your uninjured foot off the ground. Slowly put your uninjured foot back on the ground. Do this 3 to 5 times at least 3 times per day.
Sitting and Standing Heel Raises
Sit in a chair with your injured foot on the ground. Slowly raise the heel of you injured foot while keeping your toes on the ground. Return the heel to the floor. Repeat 10 times at least 2 or 3 times per day. As you get stronger, you can stand on your injured foot instead of sitting in a chair and raise the heel. Your injured foot should always stay on the ground.
Stand and place a chair next to your uninjured leg to balance you. At first, stand on the injured foot for 30 seconds. You can slowly increase this to up to 3 minutes at a time. Repeat at least 3 time a day. To increase the difficulty, repeat with your eyes closed.
Can Sprains and Strains Be Prevented?
People can do many things to help lower their risk of sprains and strains:
- Avoid exercising or playing sports when tired or in pain.
- Maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet to keep muscles strong.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Practice safety measures to help prevent falls. For example, keep stairways, walkways, yards, and driveways free of clutter; anchor scatter rugs; and salt or sand icy sidewalks and driveways in the winter.
- Wear shoes that fit properly.
- Replace athletic shoes as soon as the tread wears out or the heel wears down on one side.
- Do stretching exercises daily.
- Be in proper physical condition to play a sport.
- Warm up and stretch before participating in any sport or exercise.
- Wear protective equipment when playing.
- Run on even surfaces.!!! --> Do Take Note!