Sprained or strained ankles are the most common type of sports injury. The problem is that we often minimize their impact. For better long-term results, make sure to be patient and to wait for the ankle to be fully healed before resuming your sports activity or putting on those pretty high heels…
Sprained ankles most commonly occur in field hockey, volleyball, football, soccer, rugby, track and field and gymnastics. Most injuries occur while practicing sports, but women who wear high heels are also at high risk.
What should you do if you sprain your ankle? If possible, immediately elevate it, wrap a compression bandage around the foot and apply ice for 10 to 20 minutes, after which you should remove the ice for 10 minutes and then reapply. It’s important to cover the skin with a moist cloth to prevent the ice from coming into direct contact with the skin. There’s no need to rush to the hospital emergency unless you see an obvious deformation, feel pain in your bones, or are unable to take more than four steps.
Some experts now recommend avoiding anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or naproxen in the first 48 hours following the injury. This may differ from what you have heard in the past, but it now appears that it is best not to interfere with the body’s natural inflammatory processes, as they contribute to healing. Start with acetaminophen to control the pain in the first two days. Although you should avoid walking on the injured foot at first, prolonged periods of rest are not recommended.
Since having suffered from a sprained ankle makes you more likely to have another, performing balance exercises to strengthen ankle muscles is strongly recommended to help prevent future injuries. For example, these exercises can include standing on one foot on a firm, even surface, first with eyes open and then eyes closed. Once this has been mastered, progress to an unstable surface.
Sprains and strains mustn’t be taken lightly because if they are poorly treated, they could develop into a chronic problem that could affect your long-term quality of life.