An ankle sprain is an injury involving the stretching or tearing of the ligaments that bind the ankle bones together, which happens when the ankle is twisted or rolled unnaturally.
While inconvenient and uncomfortable, a sprained ankle doesn't have to sideline you indefinitely. Many practical strategies can aid your recovery process. With the proper care and attention, you can be back on your feet and enjoying your regular activities sooner than you think.
At the Los Angeles Institute of Foot and Ankle Surgery in Burbank, Santa Clarita, and Northridge, California, our podiatry surgeons team understands that every patient and their path to recovery is unique. Therefore, we tailor our treatment plans to your specific needs.
This article provides a practical guide to help you master your ankle sprain recovery.
Immediately after an ankle sprain, following the RICE method — rest, ice, compression, and elevation — is crucial. This approach helps ease pain, reduce swelling, and prevent further injury. Rest to protect the injured ligament, apply ice to control swelling, use compression (like an elastic bandage) to limit inflammation, and elevate the ankle to decrease bruising.
Physical therapy plays a pivotal role in recovering from an ankle sprain. At the LA Institute of Foot and Ankle, our therapists lead you through exercises designed to restore your ankle's strength, flexibility, and balance. Not only this, but we also teach you exercises that you can continue at home, helping you maintain consistent progress.
While it might seem unrelated, your overall health can significantly impact your recovery time. Eating a balanced diet rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals can aid tissue healing. Staying well-hydrated helps reduce inflammation, and getting plenty of sleep gives your body the energy it needs to heal.
The recovery journey doesn't end once your pain subsides and you can move freely. It's essential to strengthen your ankle and improve your balance to ensure a full recovery and prevent future sprains.
Ankle-strengthening exercises, like calf raises or ankle circles, can help restore your ankle's strength. Balance exercises like standing on one leg or using a balance board to improve your proprioception – your body's awareness of its position and movement – often get impaired after an ankle sprain.
Returning to your regular activities should be a gradual process to avoid the risk of reinjury post-sprain. We work with you to create a personalized plan, ensuring you get back on your feet safely and effectively.
Dealing with an ankle sprain doesn't have to be a drawn-out, frustrating process. By following the above strategies, you can accelerate your recovery.
If you've had a severe sprain, professional medical attention is necessary. We can handle even the most complex ankle sprains at the LA Institute of Foot and Ankle. You can get started by scheduling an appointment with us online or by calling 818-848-5588.