Ankle sprains and fractures are among the most common orthopedic injuries. The effects of a sprain or other injury can be wide-spread and long-lasting, so it is important to receive proper treatment. AOKC’s Houston ankle doctors offer a variety of treatments to relieve and heal most conditions, including sprains, fractures, arthritis, Achilles problems, and others.
My doctor has diagnosed me with a Grade II ankle sprain. What exactly does the “Grade II” indicate?
A sprain is defined in terms of the severity of the tearing of the ligaments in the ankle. For example, aGrade I sprain is a stretch or strain with no tearing, a Grade II sprain is a moderate tear, and a Grade IIIis a complete tear of the supporting ligaments of the ankle.
I sprained it yesterday. What should be my initial treatment?
There is a common acronym that applies to the initial treatment of many injuries: RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). Ice should be applied immediately and sustained for about 48 hours or as the swelling dictates. Compression can be achieved through the use of an ACE wrap, open basket weave taping, air cast type ankle brace, or a compression pump. Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen may be started. Elevation entails placing the ankle above your heart when you are in a reclining position.
The pain and swelling have decreased……now what?
The time period from 2-7 days post injury is called the sub acute phase. The most important thing you can do for your ankle at this point is to regain your range of motion. This can be accomplished by riding a stationary bicycle, slowly weaning yourself off your crutches, swimming, and gentle ankle pumps.
Do I continue to ice it?
At this point it’s best to begin contrast soaks. Contrast soaks are achieved by wearing a wool sock and immersing your foot in hot water for 5 minutes followed by the immersion of the same foot into ice water for 3 minutes. This process should be repeated twice. This particular treatment should be performed 2-3 times a day.
It is now over a week since the injury. It feels pretty good but it’s still a little tender. When can I start playing again?
Regular activities can be resumed when walking is pain free. The most common point of reference for making this judgment is being able to bear your full weight without discomfort. This may be achieved as quickly as two weeks post injury to as much as 2-3 months post injury. Resuming full activities too soon increases the probability that you will sprain your ankle again. The bottom line is: Use good judgment.