Treatment of a sprained ankle can be separated into immediate first aid and longer term rehabilitation and strengthening.
• Immediate First Aid for a sprained ankle:
• Aim to reduce the swelling by RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) as soon as possible. Come into the office for an evaluation as soon as possible. The sooner I can start to treat the injury with the Laser the better it will feel.
• R is for rest. It is important to rest the injury to reduce pain and prevent further damage. Use crutches if necessary. I advocate partial weight bearing as soon as pain will allow. Getting you back to your activities of daily living will accelerate the rehabilitation process.
• I is for ICE or cold therapy. Applying ice and compression can ease the pain, reduce swelling, reduce bleeding (initially) and encourage blood flow (when used later). Apply an ice pack immediately following the injury for 15 minutes. Repeat this every hour.
• C is for compression – This reduces bleeding and helps reduce swelling. A wrap or bandaging technique is excellent for providing support and compression to a recently injured ankle.
• E is for Elevation – Uses gravity to reduce bleeding and swelling by allowing fluids to flow away from the site of injury. So put your feet up and get someone else to wait on you!
• Following the initial painful stage, there are other treatments that can help the ankle return to normal as soon as possible. Range of motion exercises such as ankle circles can help to get the ankle moving again, as well as reducing swelling if performed with the leg elevated. The calf muscles often tighten up to protect the joint following a sprained ankle, and so gently stretching the calf muscles can also help to maintain movement at the joint.