Get some quick tips on how to care for a twisted ankle from this write up. Also get to know what factors can result in such a condition, and what can indicate the same.
Twisted ankle is one of the most common medical complaints doctors come across from time to time. Most often, the patients happen to be sportsmen, children or teenagers. A twisted ankle may also be referred to as a sprained ankle, as this is the immediate repercussion that takes place the moment the ankle gets twisted in an awkward manner.
The injury is basically the tear of ligaments of the ankle. It might occur when the affected person makes a rapid movement to shift his foot while being still in a planted position. And such sudden movements cause the ligaments to stretch and tear thus, causing the sprain. Although, such a condition is a common occurrence with many, it does not necessitate the fact that in all cases, it might be a mild injury. People who twist their ankles repeatedly or frequently, become highly vulnerable to develop long-term joint pain and weakness.
Causal Factors and Symptoms
A severely twisted ankle usually gets out of its normal position. And this causes the ligaments of the area to go out of their range of motion thus, stretching themselves beyond their capacity. And this ends in a sprain. Common activities which can lead to such an injury include making a fall on the ankles that cause them to twist, or landing in an awkward manner. Another common factor is waking or running on an uneven surface.
The earliest symptom is obviously a pain that occurs immediately after the ankle gets twisted. After sometime, this pain may get worse, and accompanied by swelling and reddening of the affected area. The swollen area may be tender, warm and painful to touch. And the pain may feel like a sharp sting when the ankle is tried to move thus, causing a restriction in its range of motion.
Caring for a Sprained Ankle
Immediate medical help might not be available as soon as the injury occurs. So following a few self-care measures at home may stabilize the condition for a while, at least until medical help arrives.
- The most important self-care measure that must be followed soon after the ankle gets twisted is resting. But this does not specify a complete state of inactivity, which actually, would do more harm than good. What doctors recommend is taking relative rest. Meaning, except the twisted ankle, other muscles of the body can be worked upon. In this way, the affected foot is getting sufficient time to heal, while the rest of the body is getting the required exercise.
- The next important step is about using ice compresses. Get some ice cubes and wrap them in a towel. Apply them over the sprained ankle for no more than 15-20 minutes. This must be done immediately after the injury, and every 2-3 hours. Ice therapy has been an age-old remedy for reducing swelling, pain and inflammation. In some cases, it may even be effective enough to reduce internal bleeding of the torn ligament. However, ensure that the ice is not applied directly to the skin, or if the area begins to turn white, the application must be ceased. People with diabetes, or problems with temperature sensitivity, etc., must consult their doctors regarding this method.
- Then comes compression; another effective method for caring for a twisted ankle. Wrapping the sprained area with an ACE bandage (elastic compression wrap) helps in reducing swelling. The bandage mustn’t be toot tight lest it may block the circulation. And the bandage must be loosened if it increases the pain, or numbs the affected area. It is recommended to wear the compression for the first 24 to 36 hours.
- One natural method to reduce and prevent swelling in a twisted ankle is to keep it in a position that is higher than that of the heart. This will help draining the pooled liquid thus, minimizing the swelling and the pain.
Besides the above mentioned tips, people may make use of over-the-counter pain killers. Usually, these drugs are good enough to alleviate the pain. Some people may require the need to go for physical therapy to bring back their range of motion, and decrease the recovery time of the twisted ankle. And it is equally important to keep the ankle from getting mobilized. For this, some people maybe advised to use splints or brace, and even make use of cane or crutches. The degree of immobilization will depend upon the severity of the sprain.