Ankle sprains are generally treated with Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation for about 3-5 days depending on the severity. This is intended to reduce the pain and swelling that is likely to follow injury. Use of crutches during this time is often helpful, but is often symptom driven. Unless one is instructed otherwise, as in the case of a fracture or suspected fracture, use the crutches for comfort only. Some kind of a wrap or splint is used for compression. Ice is applied for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off throughout most of the day for the first 2-3 days. After that time, one can switch to heat. Soak the foot in warm water and move the ankle and toes in all directions. Imagine that you are writing your name with your foot in script. Do not do this if you are still unable to bear weight and there might be a fracture.

During this time, the use of an anti-inflammatory medication is also helpful but not essential. Motrin (Ibuprofen and Advil are the same) in doses of 600 mg 3 times a day for about 5-7 days is the suggested dose. Those with aspirin allergy, severe asthma, and ulcers, bleeding disorders or those who take blood thinners (such as Coumadin or Plavix) should not take these medications. Any stomach upset during this time is also a reason to stop these medicines immediately.

Often physical therapy is helpful to restore motion, strength and balance. This will also reduce the likelihood of a recurring problem with ankles. A brace can be provided to supplement your stability in the short term to help you get around easier. Return to work, school and sports will be determined on an individual basis depending on severity of injury and type of activity. Follow up office visits will also be scheduled based on need.

Leave a comment