Practical management of sprained ankle caused by physical exercise(s)

Definition of Sprain

Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines sprain as “an injury to a joint, with possible rupture of some of the ligaments or tendons, but without dislocation or fracture”. Sprained ankle is one of the most common injuries among gym enthusiasts and to those who play some sports. Being very common, each one should be prepared and equipped to institute a simple and right management.

Management

With the use of drugs

The initial approach in the management of ankle sprain is to give analgesic—a drug which will eliminate the pain being experienced by the patient. Drugs that can be used are: (1) paracetamol, (2) mefenamic acid, and (3) ibuprofen. The advantage of ibuprofen over the other two drugs is that, aside from its analgesic effect, it could also relax the involved muscle(s)—thereby palliating pain in a shorter time. The standard dose of paracetamol and mefenamic acid for adults is 500 mg every 6 hours, while ibuprofen can be given at 400 mg every 4-6 hours.

These drugs can be given as initial treatment. If the pain is not relieved, or if it recurs after stopping the intake of one of theaforestated drugs, see your medical doctor without delay. The medical consultation is necessary to firmly establish your diagnosis and to possibly prescribe you with more potent drug(s). Always remember that pain managing doctors follow the “Stepladder Approach” to treating pain. They start with the simpler drug(s), and then resort to   more potent ones if the situation will require it.

With the use of other means outside of drugs

In addition to the use of drugs, there are other means of relieving the inflammation and the accompanying pain. These are encapsulated in the word RICE.

Rest

An injuredankle needs rest in order to recuperate. As experienced by most, trauma in the ankle—as in other physical injuries—will lead to inflammation, which will in turn lead to having pain, swelling, and hot sensation over the affected area. It is necessary to temporarily deprive the injured part of any movement and action in order to hasten the recovery. It is recommended by some experts, however, that the injured part be moved and used as soon as possible to return the normal functioning of the soft tissues involved in the injury and to promote blood flow in the affected area.

Ice

In the first 48 to 72 hours after injury, the inflammation could be reduced by placing plastic bag with ice over the ankle for 15 to 20 minutes. This can be done 3 to 5 times in a day for the first 3 days.

Compression

The use of elastic rubber bandage is very important and indispensable. It comes in different length and widths. You can select the size which fits you, or the size prescribed by your medical doctor. You can wrap it around the injured part in order to exert some degree of compression over the affected area. When this is done, swelling in the area can be prevented and the injured part will be largely immobilized, providing it with the necessary rest.

As the name implies, elastic rubber bandage is stretchable; therefore, you can stretch it as you wrap around the ankle, and it will effect a firm hold over the area. The bandage is provided with a metal hook which could anchor it and prevent disengagement.

Elevation

While sleeping or resting, the injured leg needs to be elevated so as to reduce swelling. However, as soon as possible, while your leg is elevated, use your foot in spelling out the alphabet! Do it as often as you can.

Reference Websites:

“The best way to treat a sprained ankle”, by Dr. Ben Kim.

“3 ways to treat ankle sprain” www.wikihow.com

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