5 Things to Immediately Do After a Foot Sprain
A foot sprain can be as painful as a break but rather than involving the bones it’s an injury to the ligaments. Rolling, twisting, or turning of the ankle can lead to a sprain.
The ligaments on the outside of the ankles are the most common ones affected by this injury. The ligaments tear and stretch when the ankle is rolled, twisted or turned in an unnatural way.
Initial treatment and first aid for a foot sprain are important. They can help you avoid further damage or injury to the ankle.
Keep reading to know the five most important things to do to treat a sprained ankle.
Symptoms of a Foot Sprain
It’s always a good idea to have your injury evaluated by a doctor. This will ensure you’re providing the proper care and treatment.
If there are no complications from foot sprain you will likely heal with self-care. Consult a doctor if you have any concerns or questions. A doctor can diagnose the injury and confirm the best course of treatment.
The signs and symptoms of a foot sprain may include:
- discomfort particularly when putting weight on the injured ankle
- swelling and bruising
- tenderness when touched
- sudden pain or popping sensation at the time of injury
- smaller range of motion and instability
Take note of any new sensations, pain or difficulties experienced after injury.
If you are diabetic make sure you perform a diabetic foot exam. It’s particularly important to be proactive in foot care when dealing with diabetes. Ensure there are no cuts or skin tears that may affect your overall health.
Once you know it’s a sprain you can take some initial steps to care for it.
Many know the prescribed course of treatment for a foot sprain as R.I.C.E.
The strained ligaments need to rest so they can heal. Limit any weight-bearing activities. This can be done through the use of crutches.
Avoid putting any pressure on the affected ankle until it no longer hurts to do so.
Apply ice as soon as possible after the injury. This will help keep swelling down. It’s good to ice it for approximately 15-20 minutes several times a day for the first few days after hurting it.
After a couple days of icing, you should find that swelling has gone down and the ankle is stronger.
Continue to ice four to eight times a day but avoid using any longer than 20 minutes at a time. Icing for too long can cause tissue damage.
Immediately after suffering a foot sprain applying compression is important to minimize swelling. If a compression bandage is not available find another way to provide compression. It can be as simple as tying your shoe tight to apply pressure.
Many people make the mistake of taking their shoe off when they hurt their ankle. They are unable to get it back on because it swells up. High top shoes work well in this situation.
Compression socks are an option if you don’t have shoes or a compression bandage on the injury.
Elevating the ankle above the heart can reduce swelling and pain. This is especially true when sleeping at night. Use pillows to prop your ankle up allowing fluids to drain and swelling to go down.
This will also help reduce throbbing and pain sensations.
Manage Pain and Monitor Progress
Over the counter pain medications such as Ibuprofen, Advil, naproxen or Tylenol can reduce pain. Use as directed when experiencing discomfort.
Always ensure you consult a doctor about any medications you wish to take. Mention all herbal, OTC or prescribed medications you are currently taking to avoid contraindicated complications.
Prevention Is the Best Medicine
The best way to treat a foot sprain is to prevent it from happening in the first place and avoiding reinjury.
- Proper footwear for the activity. Good support for the ankle.
- warm up before physical activity
- keep muscles limber and strong
- avoid heels or shoes that don’t fit properly
You don’t have to avoid the things you love to do. You just have to be smart about how you do them.
Check out our blog to learn more about caring for your feet