What is Ankle Sprain? The ankle joint is made up of four bones. The shape of each bone helps to make the joint stable. Stability around the joint is increased by the ligaments, which are bands of strong connective tissue that prevent unwanted movement. When the ankle twists, the ligaments usually prevent the joint from moving too much. An ankle sprain occurs when one of the supporting ligaments is stretched too far or too quickly, causing the ligament’s fibres to tear and bleed into the surrounding tissues. This bleeding causes pain then swelling.
What Should I Do After a Sprain? In the first 24 to 72 hours after injury, use the R.I.C.E. method:
- Rest: Take it easy, but move within your limit of pain.
- Ice: Apply ice for 15 minutes every 2 hours. This helps control pain and bleeding.
- Compression: Firmly bandage the entire ankle, foot and lower leg. This reduces swelling.
- Elevation: Have your ankle and leg well supported, higher than the level of your heart. This reduces bleeding and swelling. If there is still swelling and pain after 24 hours, visit your local physiotherapist or doctor.
Your chances of a full recovery will also be helped if you avoid the H.A.R.M. factors in the first 48 hours.
- Heat: Increases swelling and bleeding.
- Alcohol: Increases swelling and bleeding.
- Running or exercise: Aggravates the injury.
- Massage: Increases swelling and bleeding.