5 Steps to Recovery from Severe Ankle Sprain
It happens in a moment: you are running, then you side step and you fall to the ground with a cry and a poignant pain in your ankle. As you try to stand up, the pain shooting up through your leg from the ankle is unbearable and you notice the first signs of swelling. Within half an hour, your ankle is fully swollen, purplish in colour.
The diagnose? You suffered an ankle sprain, possibly a severe one. From the first moment when you are aware of the injury, it is important to take the right steps in order to encourage a fast recovery, and get back on the running track as soon as possible.
Today we will present you the first five steps you must take to recover from the sprain, protect your ankle, and make sure that when you start your first rehab exercises, it is safe to do so and there is no risk of a fresh injury. These 5 steps are known as the PRICE routine and they should become a second nature to you in case of any type of leg injury during running.
Step 1: Protect
Immediately after the injury, the tissue of your ankle is painful and tender. The tendons are overtaxed and are unable to support your joint in its normal position. Under no circumstances should you put your foot down and exert any kind of pressure or effort upon in.
During the first moments after the injury it is second nature to try to downplay its gravity and take a few steps to get your ankle back in shape. Resist this impulse, continue to sit down, and call an ambulance or a friend to take you to hospital. During the first days after the ankle sprain, you will be recommended to wear a removable plastic cast, or a plaster cast (which you will be wearing all the time until the doctor removes it).
Remember, protection is the key to correct alignment of your ankle joint and complete recovery.
Step 2: Rest
During the entire recovery procedure you must allow your ankle to heal. Absolutely no physical efforts are allowed, not even walking. You must use crutches, even if you have a solid plaster cast on your leg. No pressure should be put on the recovering tissues. You will also experience continuous pain, in most cases at tolerable levels. If you feel that the pain threshold exceeds your limits, you should consult with your doctor about prescribing painkillers.
Step 3: Ice
Ice packs should be applied for 20 minutes, with a break of 1-2 hours between applications. The ice pack should never be applied directly onto the skin. Wear thick socks and, preferably, also wrap the ice pack in a towel. The ice pack applications help a lot with pain relief for severe ankle sprains and also reduce the swelling and bleeding.
Step 4: Compression
Compression is very important to realign the twisted tendons and reset your injured ankle in the normal position. A plastic removable cast is very helpful in the early stages after the injury (up to
3 days). After this moment, according to your doctor’s recommendations, you can replace the plastic cast with an elastic ankle brace.
Step 5: Elevation
Throughout the initial healing period of your ankle sprain (up to 5 days) you should keep your ankle elevated compared to the rest of your body. This facilitates the blood flow, prevents the formation of blood clots, and also prevents the accumulation of liquid in the injured tissues. By elevating your injured foot on a pillow, you help reduce the swelling and the pain and speed up your recovery.
In the end, remember that whenever you feel that something is not right in the healing process of your sprained ankle, you should immediately contact your doctor.