A sprained ankle can involve complex and serious injuries of the muscles and ligaments that lend support, strength, and stability to your ankle. This type of injury generally needs medical attention. However, treatment for your sprained ankle should begin well before you arrive at the urgent care clinic. After such an injury, you should take steps to reduce your discomfort, decrease swelling, and stabilize your ankle. Following are three things you should do immediately after a sprained ankle injury. Do these things before leaving for the clinic or while you're on your way to the clinic.
Do not put any weight on the injured ankle, and don't try to walk on it. The best thing to do is to rest in a comfortable position with your ankle elevated. Place a pillow under the back of your leg or prop your leg up on something. The goal is to reduce blood flow to the area, which will help with pain control and swelling. When you do move to get into the car or go into the doctor's office, try to keep your leg immobilized as much as possible. Even if you think you can walk, don't. Doing so can cause further injury.
Place an ice pack against the injury as soon as possible. Icing is more effective immediately following the injury, so don't wait. Set a timer for 10 minutes after you get the ice pack in place. You never want to leave an ice pack on for a longer period of time because it can lead to frost bite and tissue damage. Remove the ice pack when the timer goes off. Allow an hour to pass before reapplying the ice pack.
Increase the stability of your ankle while reducing swelling and pain with a compression wrap. Start at your toes and circle your toes once with the bandage and once around the ball of your foot. Then, start wrapping the bandage in a figure 8 pattern from the arch of your foot to your ankle. Keep the bandage pulled taut while wrapping. Secure in place with the metal fasteners.
You will probably have to seek medical attention for a sprained ankle, but that doesn't mean you should wait until you get there to do something about it. Take steps to care for your injury before you see the doctor. It will alleviate your pain, prevent further injury, and aid in the healing process. Contact a business, such as the Nathan Littauer Hospital & Nursing Home, for more information.