With ankles supporting the whole body weight, ankle injuries are the most common injuries a person may undergo. While treatment for foot and ankle injuries have evolved over the years, the best way to treat ankle injuries is by understanding the injuries and implementing the right treatment for the condition.
It is possible for anyone to suffer from an ankle injury of any severity because of an accident or athletic activities. These injuries usually arise from a sudden and unexpected loss of balance that leads to a sharp ankle twist.
Among the many ankle injuries, strains occur when muscles or tendons overstretch and lead to tears. Though tendon ruptures may also occur, this is not that common. Sprains are more serious ankle injuries where muscles or tendons overstretch and develop small tears. Ankle fractures occur when an external force makes bone segments rupture with ligaments.
The RICE approach
Treatment for ankle injuries follow the RICE approach; rest, ice, compression and elevation. For rest, you have to avoid placing any weight or pressure on the injured foot. While crutches help in moving about, sometimes an air or compression cast or a splint will be applied for support and to minimize motion in the injured ankle.
By icing the injury, swelling is reduced. These ice packs have to be applied for about 20 minutes for every hour till the swelling recedes. Compression means providing support to the ankle using a firmly wrapped elastic bandage and compression stocking or cast. This limits swelling and pain.
Elevating the foot above heart level helps reduce swelling and bruising. In addition to this, your doctor will also prescribe some anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to help in reducing pain, swelling and inflammation.
Ankle sprains and strains usually heal within 2-6 weeks time while more severe injuries will need as long as 12 weeks to heal. The more severe injuries include ankle fractures which if ignored, can lead to post-traumatic arthritis and chronic pain.
Whatever the ankle injury may be, it is important that the right treatment is administered. Without the right treatment, there is a chance of complications which usually lead to recurring and consistent pain in the ankle region.