May 13, 2009

Tips for Treating Broken or Sprained Ankle

Posted in Category : Bone, Joint & Muscles Disorders

To begin with, broken ankle and sprained ankle are two completely different things, although it may not be clear initially. Both can happen due to sudden injuries and the immediate symptoms may not tell whether it is a fracture or a sprain. A broken ankle means the fracture of any of the bones in the ankle. And a sprained ankle means that one or more of the ligaments – these are elastic bands made of fibrous tissues and connect bones – are ruptured or stretched beyond the normal limit.

The best way to ascertain would be to visit a doctor for a thorough examination. However, if it is not possible to consult a doctor right away, you may also try to get an idea of your injury by the type of pain you are experiencing. If you experience ‘reactionary pain’ – that is, the pain comes only when you press on the area, put your body weight, or move; the pain subsides when you relax your leg sufficiently – you are most likely to have a sprain. On the other hand, if you experience ‘constant pain’ – that is, the pain is constant and does not ease with time – you are most likely have got a fracture.

If it is a broken ankle, you should get medical care immediately. Contact emergency hospital care at the earliest. There is nothing much you can do on your own to ease the pain of a broken ankle. However, if it is a sprained ankle, you can try out some self-care methods to heal yourself.

  • Protect: Use an ankle brace or some such protection so that the ankle does not experience unnecessary stress. You may also use a crutch to avoid putting pressure on the sprained ankle.
  • Rest: Rest is absolutely critical in recovering from an ankle sprain. Avoid all physical activities that cause pain or discomfort to the sprained ankle. However, do not stop physical movement completely, as it may stiffen the muscles further. Use relative rest and carry out some mild stretching exercises regularly.
  • Heat Treatment: Apply a heating pad on the injured area and press for some time. Heat treatment helps ease the pain and relax the sprained area.
  • Cold Treatment: Apply an ice pack on the injured area for some time to get relief from pain and swelling. Put a couple of ice cubes in a clean thick cotton sock and tie it around your ankle. This will provide your ankle with slow and continuous cooling. The thick sock will absorb most of the water as the ice dissolves and will not mess up your bed.
  • Elevate: While you are lying down, put your ankle at an elevated position (slightly above the level of your heart) so as to avoid as well as reduce swelling in your leg.

As preventive measures against ankle injuries, you should also practice proper warm up stretches before doing physical exercise. You should also wear comfortable footwear and avoid high-heeled shoes.