Fall sports are underway! That means lots of practices and meets, after what may have been a sedentary summer. If you or your child sprain an ankle, it’s important to take action quickly to keep the injury from becoming worse.
A common treatment for acute injuries like sprains is the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Rest will allow your ankle to heal properly without additional strain. Stay off your foot as much as possible for a few days.
Ice can help ease your pain and prevent swelling. Wrap the ice in a towel to avoid blistering your skin, and apply it for only 15 minutes per hour.
Compression (wrapping your injury) can help control swelling. Wrap your ankle tight enough that it feels firm, but loose enough that you can still move your foot. If you use a brace, make sure you select one that is designed for ankles, and is the proper size to avoid rubbing, blistering and increased swelling. The staff atCarePro Pharmacies or CarePro Home Medical can help you choose an ankle wrap or brace to fit you.
Elevation is another way to keep swelling under control. Lay on the couch with your foot propped up on a few pillows, just above heart level. If you don’t experience pain relief after two days of using the RICE method, see your physician- your injury may be more serious than a sprain.
How can you prevent sprains this fall? Start by using proper shoes for your activity (don’t go running in shoes designed for volleyball). Replace your shoes if they’re worn or have become uncomfortable. Warming up before exercise is important, too. Think of your ligaments and tendons as if they were rubber bands. If you try to stretch a cold rubber band, it will snap (unpleasant, right?). If you stretch a warm rubber band, it will likely be more flexible.
Most importantly, listen to your body. If you feel intense pain, it is best to stop and pinpoint the reason for your pain. You can decrease your chances of suffering a chronic injury by paying attention when your body signals that it needs a break. Remember, trophies can be won and lost, but severe injuries can sideline you for good!