Sprained Ankle Recovery

sprained-ankle-recoverySprained ankles are often associated with athletes or people participating in sporting events, but the truth is a sprained ankle can happen to anyone. All it takes is a misstep or an uneven surface for you to twist your ankle the wrong away and injure the ligaments that connect the ankle and the foot.

These types of injuries range from mild sprains to severe.  The good news is that there are many methods available to treat a sprained ankle.

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RICE

The most common treatment is popularly known by the acronym RICE which stands for rest, ice, elevation and compression.  The first step is to rest the ankle by not walking on it.  You should try not to bear weight on it at all if it causes pain.

Crutches or a brace may be needed to keep the weight off if you must move around.  Next, you need to ice the affected ankle to reduce the pain and swelling.  Do not put ice directly on your skin.

Instead, wrap it in a thin cloth or dishtowel to prevent frostbite and tissue damage.  You should try to ice for twenty minutes at a time, about once an hour.  Compression is important to reduce swelling when you aren’t icing.

A properly wrapped ankle will also be immobilized to help prevent further injury.  You can use elastic bandages or braces to provide compression to the injured area.  The final step of this treatment is elevation.

You should elevate your foot by propping it up above the waist or heart using pillows or blankets.  This will improve blood flow and help to drain the unhealthy fluids that can build up with this type of injury.

The typical recovery time for a mild sprain using the RICE method is about one to two weeks.  A more severe sprain could take much longer to heal, sometimes up to six months depending on the amount of damage to the ligaments.

H.E.M.

H.E.M. stands for a three step rehabilitation system consisting of healthy blood flow, eliminate swelling, and mobility. This system was created by fitness expert Scott Malin as a fast and cost-effective way to treat sprained and weak ankles.

H.E.M. works for all levels of sprains including the more serious high ankle sprain.  Healthy blood flow floods the injury with immune cells to help remove the waste and debris that have settled in the injury site.  Fresh blood and nutrients are crucial to kick-start the healing process.

Eliminating swelling is critical to prevent the accumulation of scar tissue that can severely weaken and inhibit the natural movement of the ankle after it has healed.  This step breaks up scar tissue and removes residual swelling.  Again, this allows healthy, fresh blood to flow into the injury which flushes out any accumulated toxins caused by the sprain.

The final step is mobility to help muscle regeneration and repair.  After a sprain, the area will be weak, stiff, unstable, and unable to heal on its own.  The mobility exercises in this program will increase the strength, stability and range of motion that are an important part of a full recovery.  Oncethe  full range of motion has been restored, you will be less likely to have a repeated injury.

Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation is an important part of healing the ligaments involved in an ankle sprain.  Once you can stand on your ankle you should consider some form of rehabilitation to ensure a full recovery. Begin your rehabilitation with short walks, increasing the distance and speed gradually and stopping if you feel pain.

Range of motion exercises can be added once walking is pain-free.  This includes stretching exercises, strength training, and balance exercises. These should be continued over the next several weeks to months.

Start the exercises slowly, and gradually increase repetitions and difficulty using your pain levels to guide you.  If you feel anything more than mild pain, you should ease back to a more comfortable exercise.  Even after your ankle feels better, continue these exercises to keep your ankles strong and prevent future injuries.

Returning to Normal Activities

Recovery time will vary depending on which method you choose.  Mild sprains can heal in as quickly as two weeks, but more severe sprains can often take several months.

Before returning to your normal activities after a sprain you should be sure that all swelling has subsided and you have regained normal joint motion and strength.  If you followed a treatment plan and allowed your ankle proper time to heal, you should be able to resume your regular activities without concerns of re-inuring your ankle.

Our Top Pick For Sprained Ankle Treatment

Heal old or new ankle injuries fast!

Learn More

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