How To Deal With A Sore Ankle
A sore ankle can be caused by a number of reasons. Swelling, sprain, exercise, pregnancy, arthritis or simply stepping down on it the wrong way can cause mild to severe discomfort. Of course, a sprain is the most common cause which is always accompanied with an abundance of swelling and pain. This occurs when at least one ligament is partially or fully torn and at least 85 percent of sprains occur to the lateral aspect of the area.
Edema can also cause a sore ankle due to an enlargement in an organ that is the result of excess fluid accumulation in the tissues. Although this will often occur at the site of the organ, it can also be seen elsewhere in the body and the ankles are often targeted if your system is not properly circulating fluid.
Treating Sore And Swollen Ankles
An orthopedic doctor or podiatrist should examine a severe sprain or injury. They may require an X-ray to be taken to rule out the possibility of a broken bone. Doctors will always recommend rest, ice, compression, elevation (RICE) for a sore ankle.
- Rest – This obviously means exactly what it says, keep the ankle rested. Even though you planned on going out tonight and wearing those new four inch sling backs or were suppose to golf in a tournament today, you have to rest it. If you continue to walk on the injury all you will do is cause more swelling and additional pain.
- Ice – For the initial 48 hours after you have sustained the injury, you need to ice it for 15 to 20 minutes every 3 to 4 hours. A bag of frozen peas or corn is ideal because it can easily mold around your sore ankle and they don't weigh too much. Not to mention, you can just keep refreezing the same bag pretty quickly. Never ice your injury longer than 20 minutes at a time, you can actually cause a lot of tissue damage if you do.
- Compression – When elevating the ankle during the initial treatment phase, compression is quite beneficial. Use an ACE bandage and wrap your ankle beginning at your toes and ending up above your calve muscle. Although the wrap should be quite snug for support, be sure that it is not cutting off your circulation. You will know the compression bandage is too tight if your foot falls asleep or turns cold or blue.
- Elevation – Whenever possible, prop up your sore ankle so that it is at a height above your heart. If you can prop it up on some pillows while you lay on your back either when you sleep or are watching television, this is perfect.
- Heat – Although heat does not fall under the RICE treatment, it is still quite beneficial. Applying heat will help to loosen and relax tissues and stimulate the flow of blood to the area. Always be careful of monitoring heat and be cautious of burns. Heating pads should never be left on for long periods of time or while you are sleeping.
If symptoms persist and the RICE method is not helping, you need to see your primary medical care provider. There is a chance that it could be due to kidney problems, liver disease or congestive heart failure. In the meantime, you should avoid alcohol, salt and over-the-counter medication.
- Physical Conditioning – Strengthening your ankles with exercises is always a good idea. Before engaging in any kind of physical activity, a proper warmup is extremely important.
- Massage and Rest - Don't pass up the opportunity to prop your feet up on a pillow and relax, even without an injury. Your ankles take quite a beating throughout the day. Take the time to massage the area to reduce swelling and help ease any tension.