A ankle sprain or broken ankle is something that we rarely think about, but there are few things in life more painful and downright inconvenient than a bad ankle injury. Yes, you can get one skydiving or crashing a motorcycles, but they can also occur when stepping off a curb or simply walking on uneven terrain.
So try to avoid uneven ground and unstable footing, but if that doesn’t work and you badly injure an ankle, the first thing you need to do is get an X-ray to ensure that it’s not broken. If the ankle is broken, you’re likely to remain under the care of the treating physician who will manage your treatment and recovery process. On the other hand, if the X-ray shows that nothing is broken, you’re likely to be told the ankle is sprained, and then you’ll be discharged from emergency to deal with the situation on your own..
Remember the “RICE” principle.
1. Rest – relax and get off the foot as soon as possible and stay off it for a few days.
2. Ice – to reduce swelling, ice as soon as possible after the injury. Apply ice for a maximum of 10 minutes and then remove for at least one hour. Repeat as required, but remember that ice treatments are most effective inside 72 hours after injury.
3. Compression – wrap your ankle with a tensor bandage to help decrease the swelling as well as providing some support
4. Elevate – whenever possible, raise your foot higher than the level of your heart. You can try lying on the couch and putting your foot up on some pillows for elevation.
It can take six weeks for an ankle sprain to heal so be patient! You can go it alone, but a physiotherapist can be very helpful in managing all stages of your recovery and result in a quicker, more complete recovery from a serious ankle injury.
What to expect from Physiotherapy
After a thorough assessment, physiotherapy treatment may include ultrasound or other treatments to reduce swelling, and gentle manipulation to get your ankle moving again. A physiotherapist will also customize an exercise program for you that will speed recovery by building strength and increasing range of motion. A physiotherapist will also advise you on how to manage your return to a full active lifestyle following an ankle injury.