Some foot and ankle conditions should definitely be handled by a doctor. If you have a broken bone, for example, it is important to see a doctor so the area can be X-rayed and broken ends lined up properly. There are other issues you can perform at least a certain degree of diagnosis and treatment yourself, such as can be the case with an ankle sprain.
Before we discuss at-home care for an ankle sprain, it is important to note that severe injuries often require professional treatment. If you have been attempting to care for the injury on your own and haven’t found the results you hoped to see, schedule an appointment with our Berkeley, CA foot doctor office. We can evaluate the injury and create a treatment plan to address it for you.
Ankle sprains are very common injuries. They happen often during sporting activities, but can also be sustained by everyday events. If you misjudge the distance of a step or walk on uneven ground, it is possible you will twist your ankle too far. When this happens, the ligaments that hold bones together are stretched beyond their intended range.
The most recognizable symptoms of an ankle sprain are pain and swelling. It may be difficult to place weight on the affected foot.
When you have these symptoms after rolling your foot in an awkward manner, start your at-home treatment with the following measures:
- Rest – Too often, especially for athletes, people are hurt with a sprained ankle and attempt to return back to their activities too quickly. Rest is an essential part of treatment for an ankle sprain, so it is important not to rush back to sports and other physical activities. When the ankle does not receive enough rest, it could lead to a long-term problem – chronic ankle instability.
- Ice – Icing your injured ankle is important for reducing inflammation and swelling. It will also help to lessen the amount of pain you are experiencing as well. When applying ice to the affected area, wrap the ice or ice pack in a thin towel first. This will help prevent damage to your skin. Also, keep the wrapped ice on the area for no more than 20 minutes at a time.
- Compression – Just like using ice, compression to the area will help reduce swelling. You can use a fabric bandage wrapped tightly around the injured ankle, but make sure the wrap isn’t too tight. If you begin feeling a tingling sensation or numbness, loosen up the wrap a little.
- Elevation – In addition to compression, elevating the sprained ankle is another way to reduce swelling. When you do this, keep the injured ankle above the level of your heart. Since you should be resting anyhow, a good idea is to lay down and prop your foot up on some pillows.
- Medication – If the pain and inflammation is strong, you may wish to use over-the-counter pain relievers and medication. Check with our office first for specific dosage recommendations.
If you have tried treating an ankle sprain at home and are not finding the pain relief you need, it may be time to seek professional care. For additional information about ankle sprain treatment, or to schedule an appointment with our Berkeley, CA office, simply give us a call at (510) 647-3744.