Either you saw it and thought it wasn’t so bad or you didn’t see it. Either way, before you know it you are down on the ground. The winter ice has claimed another victim. It has happened to me more times than I care to think about and I bet you have had some experience with it also.
So, let’s say that you get back up but notice pain in your ankle. You look at it and it is swollen. Yes, it can be swollen that fast. It can even look bruised. What have you done?
The first thought is that you have sprained your ankle. This is not good news for anyone. I know, you have a million things to do and don’t have time to stop to let this heal.
Guess what? You do have time. You have time mostly because it hurts and you won’t be able to get around as well but also you have time because if you don’t take the time to let it heal properly, you could cause damage that will bother you for the rest of your life. You can end up with severe joint pain from repeated sprains or ill attended to sprains.
So what should you do? First call your friendly local podiatrist. If you can get in right away, then go and get it checked. If it is a weekend and you cannot get into your podiatrist, then either go to the emergency room and have it checked or stay home and act like it is sprained and go the your friendly local podiatrist on Monday.
I have, in the past, talked about RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). In this particular instance, I am going to add to your vocabulary. With the sprained ankle, we will talk about PRINCE.
Protection – an air brace or some sort of ankle support
Rest – get off your ankle and let it recover without pressure
Ice – for the first 24 – 72 hours apply ice for 10 – 20 minutes every hour.
NSAIDs or acetaminophen – take over the counter pain medicines like Advil or Motrin to help relieve the swelling. You might also want to take over the counter pain medicine like Tylenol. Follow the directions for the medicine! Even though it is over the counter, following the directions is important!
Compression – wrap your ankle with a compression wrap (like an ACE bandage) to help reduce swelling
Elevation – raise your ankle above the level of your heart to help reduce swelling.
It is possible to sprain your ankle and break a bone or bones at the same time. For that reason, you really need to get your ankle checked. A simple x ray will show if there are any broken bones. If there is a broken bone, then the doctor can plan out the best treatment plan for you. Even if the ankle is sprained you will need to make sure that you are doing the right thing to get your self back on your feet. After all, you want to be able to get around on those ankles for a long time.
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