Few people have lived their life without having their ankle sprained at least once. Sprains are, in fact, considered one of the most common injuries in individuals of all ages. The ankles are the most susceptible to sprains due to their small size and forces applied to it when you move your body.
Younger individuals typically sustain sprains when jumping or running. But for older folks, the mere act of walking on uneven surfaces or stepping down a step awkwardly could result in a sprained ankle. The reason for this is simple. As you grow older, your strength and balance can decline. This is particularly true if you’re not physically active, increasing your risk of sustaining a sprain.
How Do Ankle Sprains Occur
A sprain basically happens when one or multiple ligaments become torn or stretched. Among the most common kind of ankle sprain is the lateral sprain or inversion, also called inversion injury, in which the foot turns inward and damages the outer ankle’s ligaments.
Less common ankle sprains are those that affect the inner ankle’s ligaments and those that damage ligaments that connect the fibula and tibia (leg bones) located on top of the ankle.
Treating an Ankle Sprain at Home
The standard treatment for sprained ankles is the RICE – rest, ice, compression and elevation – method. This involves the following steps:
- Resting the sprained ankle round-the-clock for a day or two;
- Icing the affected ankle every three hours for a period of at least 20 minutes until the swelling goes down;
- Compressing the injured ankle with a clean elastic wrap; and
- Elevating the sprained ankle at least up to hip height every time you’re seated.
Depending on the severity of your ankle sprain, you might have to wear an ankle brace or utilise crutches for a couple of weeks to protect and stabilise your injured ankle. NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can likewise help in controlling swelling and pain.
When You Should Seek Professional Treatment
While a minor sprain can be treated at home, if you have significant swelling, numbness, or bruising, or if your find it impossible to walk or move the affected ankle, you might have a more severe ankle sprain or fracture.
If this is the case, you should go to a physiotherapy specialist in Singapore for professional diagnosis and prompt treatment.
Prevention is Key
Making sure that you have flexible and strong ankles is vital to avoiding an injured ankle. Simple exercises such as flexing your ankles every which way while lounging on the couch or streaming a video can help strengthen your ankles.
Even walking, dancing, tai chi, and yoga will do the trick. These will help with strengthening your ankles and your balance. Also, wearing shoes that offer ample support will help make sure that your feet are protected.
Keep in mind that you should likewise contact or go to the doctor as soon as possible if you suspect that your ankle isn’t healing well. Or if it’s getting worse, because left unaddressed, this could result in long-term ankle instability and pain.