Baptist Health Louisville: Sprained Ankle Treatment
Baptist Health treats patients like athletes to help them recover more quickly from ankle sprains. Discover our methods for treating sprained ankles by encouraging ankle movement through stretches and exercises.
Sprained Ankle Treatment HealthTalks Transcript
Mark Puckett, MD
Ankle sprains typically happen with some form of injury to the ankle. Most of those happen when the ankle rolls in, so stepping off a curb, tripping on loose pavement, slipping on a wet surface, tripping on a sports field or a basketball court would be common ways that would happen.
The initial treatment of an ankle sprain usually involves an acronym that we call “RICE:” R for rest; I for ice; C for compression, like with an ACE bandage; and E for elevation, or raising the foot up above the level of the heart to allow the swelling to reduce and help with pain relief.
We recommend people be evaluated if they have difficulty bearing weight more than just immediately after the injury, or if they have severe swelling or bruising, or pain that just doesn’t get better over a few days on its own.
One of the first things we have people do is to start with range of motion. One common example is drawing the alphabet with their toes to get the ankle moving and keep it from getting too stiff, and we’ve learned that helps people recover more quickly from an ankle sprain. Usually, we would progress from there doing some stretches and exercises with an elastic band to move the ankle up, down, in and out, to turn on the muscles that also help support the ankle. Eventually, we recommend people practice their balance on one foot to help with the other motions that stabilize the ankle and keep it from being sprained again in the future.
Here at Baptist Health Sports Medicine, we’re going to treat the average person getting back to life the same way we treat an athlete, so we get you back to your activity as quickly as possible.