Athletes and everyday gym goers acquire multiple injuries throughout their lives, one of the most common being an ankle sprain. Yet it can be hard to tell on your own if the pain you feel is due to a sprain or something more serious. The best way to find out is by visiting an urgent care doctor who can properly examine your ankle and the muscles around it.
A sprain, in general, is a when you stretch and/or tear your ligaments, which are the tough tissues that connect your cartilage and bones; they are our body parts “connectors.” A sprain also involves a strain in the muscle nearby. You can get a sprain from any kind of over exerted turn, twist or roll that tears the ligament.
There are multiple types of sprain, but the most common is called an inversion sprain, where your ankle literally turns over in a way that forces the sole of your foot to face inwards. This damages the ligaments on the outside of the ankle, and causes painful bruising, swelling and tenderness. As with any sprain you will struggle to move your ankle normally and will feel pain when putting weight down on your foot.
If after reading this description leads you to believe the source of your pain is indeed from an ankle sprain, you must act immediately. Apply the RICE method first, meaning Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. For Rest, cease exercising and stay off your foot as much as possible. Use crutches if you have them. When you Ice the area do not do so for more than 15-20 minutes at a time, and do so about every 2 hours the first day of the injury. For Compress you can buy great elastic bandages that will hold the muscle in place. And finally, try and Elevate your leg as much as possible, even propping it up while you’re at work and eating dinner. The RICE method is used for most muscle sprains and injuries, and is effective in decreasing swelling and inflammation.
If the injury isn’t severe you should be able to heal on your own in a month. People who’ve experienced an ankle sprain before are usually tempted to do self-treatment. A doctor can speed up your recovery by ensuring you actually have an ankle injury in the first place and then prescribe you better anti-inflammatory medication that will help loads with the swelling and pain. Once the injury is confirmed you doctor will give tell you the proper stretches and exercises to ensure your ankle returns to full strength.