RICE to the Rescue for Ankle Sprains
You’re strolling down the sidewalk when suddenly you trip and fall. Later that day your foot swells and you can’t put your full weight on it. Looks like the ankle may be sprained. Now what should you do?
According to the National Safety Council, if you can walk after your fall, you probably won’t need to see a doctor. But if your ankle swells immediately and you can’t walk on it, the ligament may be ruptured or the ankle broken. In that case medical attention will be necessary.
A sprained ankle is one of the most common reasons people visit emergency rooms or orthopedic doctors. In fact, 85 percent of all ankle injuries in sports are sprains.
To treat a sprained ankle, remember this term: RICE to the Rescue. By following the RICE procedure, aches and pains can be minimized:
- Rest: Injuries heal faster if you rest. Continued use of a moderate or severely sprained ankle can delay healing, increase pain, or worsen the injury. With a mild sprain, activity as tolerated after 1 to 2 days of rest can be helpful.
- Ice: Wrap your ankle with a wet cloth. Apply an ice pack over the cloth (held in place with an elastic bandage) for 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours during the first 48 to 72 hours. Remove the ice when your skin begins to feel numb.
- Compression: Remove the ice pack and wrap a u-shaped cloth around the ankle knob (held in place with an elastic bandage). Compression squeezes fluid from the injury site and limits swelling.
- Elevate: Raise your ankle above your heart for the first 24 hours, to minimize swelling and limit internal bleeding. The less swelling present, the faster an injury will heal.
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