First Aid Response: How to treat a sprained ankle

sprainA sprain is a stretched or torn ligament. Ligaments connect the bones in a joint and help the bones be kept in their place and with their proper range of movement. The most common place for a sprain is the ankles. An ankle sprain can occur when you fall, when there is a sudden twist of the ankles, or when the joint force outside of its normal position, the latter, for example, when you fall on your foot a way abnormal after a jump. The majority of ankle sprains occur during sport, physically demanding activities like walking or running on uneven surfaces.

When an ankle sprain happens there are some surefire signs that can help determine the presence of this injury. The signs may include:

  • Pain, just touching the affected area might cause pain. If the pain is too severe it might be sign of a more serious injury
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Inability to walk or sustain weight the affected joint
  • Stiffness

The seriousness of an ankle sprain depends on how much the ligaments were stretched or torn. If the sprain is mild, there may not be a lot of pain, or swelling, and the ligaments that can only have been stretched, but still some precautions must be taken. If the sprain is severe, one or more ligaments can be torn, and the joint may be excessively swollen. A serious sprain can also be extremely painful, and often can be confused with a fracture.

The proper way to treat an individual who might have just sprained their ankle is to have them be still. If that person is unable to stand, the sprain might be severe. It is important to determine if there is any swelling to the affected area. If so, the application of ice or an ice pack might be necessary to help with the swelling and help mitigate the pain. If the sprain is not serious, the patient can go home and be able to treat the injury by following RICE therapy (Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevation).

In case the pain is severe and considerable damage was made to the ligaments it is strongly recommended that the patient is taken to see a doctor to further examine the severity of the injury. In some severe cases surgery might be even required.

For the most part, sprained ankles tend not to be a serious injury and they can be treated at home with proper care. Applying cold therapy and perhaps even some TENS therapy can help ease the pain that is normal in these sort of cases. It is important for the patient to rest and let the injury heal, to avoid the risk of having it occur again.

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