A sprained ankle is one of the most common sports and everyday injuries. Receiving the correct treatment for a sprained ankle is key to getting back on your feet and back in the game. The best and most common treatment procedure for a sprained ankle is best known by its acronym, R.I.C.E. Which stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.
The first part of treatment for a sprained ankle is not necessarily optional but depends on the situation. Rest is an integral part to recovery of any injury. If you continue to use the tissues and ligaments injured, they will not have time for recovery and many times worsen the injury. Of course, if it’s the championship game, rest may not be an option.
Placing ice over the injury will help prevent excessive swelling. During a sprain, blood vessels are broke. Then blood rushes to the area. Applying ice will slow down the blood flow and prevent swelling. Always remember to not apply ice to any injury for more than 15 minutes at a time at 2 – 3 hour intervals. Doing more than this may be harmful to the injured area. After the first day though, it is recommended to apply heat to the sprained ankle as this will expedite swelling to decrease by increasing blood flow away from the injured area.
Next you apply compression to the injured area. The simplest way to this on a sprained ankle is to get an ace bandage and wrap it tightly around the ice pack making sure it is putting pressure on the sports injury. It is not recommended to place compression then ice over the bandage. This will reduce the effect of ice on the sprained ankle. Also, do not wrap the bandage too tightly. You are not trying to cut off circulation. Only to limit blood flow and swelling by pushing any blood out and placing a limit on how much the swelling can grow.
Lastly, you need to elevate the sprained ankle. This does not mean to simply prop your ankle on a stool. Correct elevation is to place the injury above the heart. For a sprained ankle, it is best to lie down with pillows under the ankle. Since all blood flows towards the heart, by elevating the sprained ankle above the heart you are encouraging and increasing blood flow away from the injured area and reducing swelling.
By following the R.I.C.E. procedure with a sprained ankle or any other acute sports injury, you can increase your chances of a quick and healthy recovery.