Treatment Options for a Sprained Ankle

One of the more common types of sports injuries is a sprained ankle. You can sprain your ankle playing a variety of sports or just when you're running if you happen to land just right on your foot and twist your ankle. Sprained ankles aren't always serious, but your doctor will probably advise you to rest until your ankle heals even with a mild sprain. Here's a look at some treatments for a sprained ankle.

Reduce Swelling with Ice & Elevation

A sprained ankle, even one with a minor sprain, can look like a bad injury. Your ankle may swell and turn black and blue. This is due to the tissue injury under the skin and the inflammation that follows. One of the first things you should do for an ankle sprain is put ice on your ankle and elevate your foot. You may even want to do this on the way to see your doctor to control swelling right away.

Stay Off Your Injured Foot

You'll also need to rest your foot and ankle for a period of time. Your doctor will let you know when it's okay to start bearing your weight again. It all depends on the severity of your injury, but you don't want to resume training too soon or your injury might get worse rather than heal. Your doctor might put a splint or cast on your lower leg to immobilize your ankle. You may need to use crutches so you can get around without having to bear weight. If your sprain isn't severe, then your doctor may just wrap your foot and ankle in a compression bandage and show you how to change it during your recovery.

Begin Exercises & Stretches

Your doctor will advise you on when to begin an exercise program for your injured ankle. It's likely that you'll start simple stretches and exercises within a few days of the injury. You'll heal faster if you keep moving your ankle as long as you do so under the guidance of your physician or physical therapist. You can do stretches in a sitting position so you can exercise without having to bear your weight on your feet.

While you're recovering from your ankle sprain, your doctor will probably advise you to hold off on playing sports until you've been cleared. It can take weeks to recover from a mild or moderate sprain and months to heal from a severe sprain. Although you may not want to sit out from playing sports from that long, you don't want to play on a weak ankle and risk an even more serious injury that would sideline you for longer.