Ankle sprain

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An ankle sprain usually occurs if there is a significant injury to the ligaments adjacent as well as connecting the bones of the leg to the foot. This injury typically occurs among individuals who accidentally twisted or turned their ankle inappropriately. Always remember that all ligaments in the body have a certain range of motion and limitations that enabled them to keep the joints stabilized. Once the ligaments surrounding the ankle are pushed beyond its limits, it results to a sprain. It is important to seek medical attention for an ankle sprain since only the doctor can determine its severity and provide the proper course of treatment. An ankle sprain usually takes several weeks or even months to fully heal.

ankle sprain-first aid
Ankle sprain

Causes of ankle sprain

In any physical activity, there is a possibility that the ankle might twist interiorly due to abrupt or unexpected movement. As a result, tears to the ligaments surrounding the ankle develop. A certain degree of swelling or bruising can occur due to the tears, resulting to discomfort once weight is applied on the affected area. The cartilage, tendons and blood vessels might also get damaged due to the sprain. Any person at any age can sustain an ankle sprain. Engaging in sports, wearing ill-fitting footwear or even walking on uneven surfaces can cause this injury.

Symptoms of an ankle sprain

An individual is suffering from an ankle sprain if you notice the following:

  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Ankle pain
  • Could not bear weight on the affected ankle
  • Stiffness
  • Discoloration of skin

The ankle might also sustain different types of injury. This is the reason why it is important to consult a doctor to determine if it is a sprain or a different injury.

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First aid for an ankle sprain

Among the different types of sprains in the body, the ankle and knee are commonly affected. The injury can swell quickly and very painful. For minor sprains, you have to follow the R.I.C.E method that you can learn in any first aid course.

  • Rest the affected ankle and avoid putting any weight for 48 hours but do not avoid all activity.
  • Ice the affected area by using a cold pack or compression sleeve that is filled with cold water. This will help minimize the swelling. Make sure that it is applied as soon as possible after the injury and continue the application for 15-20 minutes for 4-8 times in a day until the swelling improves. Just remember not to use ice extensively since it can cause damage to the tissues.
  • Compress the affected area using a bandage or elastic wrap.
  • Elevate the affected ankle higher than the level of the heart if possible in order to minimize swelling.

After two days, gently start using the affected area and by that time there should be gradual improvement. For pain relief during the healing process, over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used. You can learn how to handle a sprained ankle in any of the first aid courses.

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