Sooner or later, most of us experience a sprained ankle. These injuries can be extremely painful, but in most cases, they get better with home treatment. Dr. Joseph Stuto, your Brooklyn, NJ foot doctor, shares some information about treating sprains.
What should I do if I sprain my ankle?
The RICE method is an effective way to treat many types of injuries, including sprained ankles. RICE stands for:
- Rest: When you sprain your ankle, you stretch or tear the ligaments that connect that bones in your ankle joint. Resting your ankle will help the ligaments begin to heal. In the first few days after your injury, it's important to stay off your feet as much as possible.
- Ice: Applying ice to your ankle reduces both pain and swelling. Use ice packs three or four times a day for 15 to 30 minutes. Be sure to wrap the ice in a towel, or use an ice pack, as applying ice directly to the skin can cause frostbite.
- Compression: Wrapping your ankle with an athletic bandage will decrease swelling and help support the joint.
- Elevation: Use pillows to prop up your ankle for the first two days after your injury. Elevating your ankle can also reduce swelling.
What if my ankle doesn't get better?
If your ankle doesn't begin to get better or worsens, it's a good idea to visit your Brooklyn podiatrist. If your sprain is severe, he may recommend that you wear a boot or brace or use crutches to support and protect your ankle while it heals. He may also refer you to a physical therapist who will teach you exercises that will strengthen the muscles that support your ankle, reduce stiffness and improve your balance.
Although surgery usually isn't needed for ankle sprains, your foot doctor may recommend it if your sprain is severe and doesn't respond to more conservative treatments. Surgery is used repair torn ligaments, remove small pieces of bones or cartilage or reconstruct the damaged ligament.
Are you concerned about lingering ankle pain after a sprain? Call Dr. Stuto, your Brooklyn, NJ foot doctor, at (718) 624-7537 to schedule an appointment.