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A sprained ankle is the result of a sudden twisting or sideway motion of the foot. It can happen during athletic events or just in the normal routine activities such as stepping off a curb. There are two categories of ankle sprain, inversion and eversion ankle sprains.
The first course of treatment for sprained ankles consists of self-care at home. Many times, sprained ankles can be healed without doctor assistance. The pain of sprained ankles is due to inflammation so this should be done by icing the ankle.
Ice has been found to be the best treatment for sprained ankles. Ice works by reducing the swelling, redness and warmth. Ice should be applied soon after the injury so that inflammation is stopped from developing.
Make sure that the ice is wrapped in a towel before applying. The usual time recommend for applying ice is 20 minutes. Repeat as necessary, but allow 30 minutes between the applications.
If self-care doesn’t work, you will need a doctor’s assistance. X-rays or a CT scan can be taken to determine if there is a fracture. A doctor may apply a cast or brace to the ankle to reduce motion.
If there is no evidence of a fracture, your doctor may recommend the RICE approach which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. You may need to rest your ankle either partially or completely.
The patient will use crutches so that the ankle doesn’t have to bear weight. Compression involves wrapping your ankle to decrease swelling and bruising. Compression is usually done for up to a week after the injury.
Your doctor may recommend elevating your ankle to above the level of your heart. Again, this is done to prevent swelling and bruising. Elevation is usually done for periods of 2 to 3 hours per day.