We use our feet and ankles so often that if they hurt, it can drastically affect your quality of life. The good news is that most ankle injuries aren’t permanent and with some simple at-home treatments, you can get back to your normal activities.
First, rest the injured ankle and reduce swelling with ice. Make sure to place a towel between the ice and your skin.
If you think you have an ankle sprain, take the weight off the injured ankle as much as possible. Use crutches, take the elevator, and let someone else walk the dog for a few days if necessary.
Ice the area — either in an ice slush or a cold compress – for 15 minutes four to eight times a day until the swelling goes down. Compression — wrap the area with an elastic bandage or sleeve, but not so tight that it hinders circulation — also helps reduce swelling.
Elevating the ankle above the level of your heart — such as on a pillow when you go to bed at night — can also reduce inflammation and pain. Over-the-counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help ease the pain.
Ice treatment decreases swelling, bruising, pain and muscle spasms. This therapy is most effective during the first 48 hours after injury. Place an ice pack (covered with a towel to prevent frostbite) on the injured area for 20 minutes every two or three hours.
The goal of icing is to constrict blood vessels around an injury, which limits fluid flow and minimizes inflammation. It is a key element of the RICE method.
Avoid soaking in a cold bath or ice bucket as this can cause vasodilation, or narrowing of the blood vessels. This will not help an injured joint or muscle. A hot bath or whirlpool is better used to warm up stiff soft tissues before stretching and exercise.
When you pull a muscle, your doctor might prescribe pain medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. These medications, called analgesics, relieve the pain but do not heal the injured muscles. These medications affect how your body reads pain signals and reduce swelling, which can help ease your discomfort while the affected area heals.
The ankle and foot are complex mechanical structures. There are two dozen bones, 30 joints and 100 tendons, ligaments and muscles in each of them. This complexity can result in many injuries and conditions that cause pain and discomfort. Your provider can diagnose these problems with tests and imaging. X-rays, CT scans and MRI are common tests that create images of bones and soft tissues.
The feet and ankles support your weight, absorb shock and provide balance and mobility. These complex mechanical structures must work together properly and are susceptible to injury and degeneration.
Symptoms such as swelling and stiffness are typically treated with rest, pain relievers and home treatments, but severe symptoms may require professional treatment. The team at Los Angeles Pain Relief Clicic provides advanced treatment for foot and ankle issues. They specialize in treating sports injuries and chronic conditions, such as flatfeet and arthritis. They perform a variety of surgical procedures. Make an appointment with a sports medicine specialist at LifeSpan Medicine in Los Angeles right away.