Even Taking Care of Minor Injuries Is So Important!
Summer sports are in full swing, but with summer sports often come summer sports injuries. Caring for foot and ankle injuries correctly is incredibly important, especially if you are trying to get back on your feet for the fall sports that are right around the corner.
One of the most common injuries in any sport is a sprained ankle. Even though it may not seem like the most severe injury, it is crucial to care for a sprain properly in order to avoid the development of more serious problems down the road.
There are countless myths and misconceptions about how to care for an ankle sprain, both when and after it happens. Luckily, we have the podiatrist approved answers to the commonly asked questions! Following these guidelines will set you up with the best chances of making a full recovery without a doctor’s visit.
Should I Leave My Shoe On My Foot?
NO! A common misconception about ankle sprains is that you should leave your shoe on your foot to compress swelling, but this actually can cause more damage down the road. Immediately after the injury occurs, you should remove your shoe, and use ice to reduce pain and swelling.
I Can Just Walk It Off, Right?
Even if you feel like your pain tolerance is high enough to “walk off” your injury, you should immediately sit and elevate it. Putting unnecessary pressure on your foot will cause more pain in the days following your injury, even if you feel like you can handle it at the moment. This unnecessary strain can also cause a more serious injury that will take even longer to recover from.
If I Feel Better In a Few Minutes, Can I Go Back In the Game?
Absolutely NOT. Even if your ankle starts to feel better immediately after icing and elevating, you should not go back in the game. Since your ankle is already unstable, it is more susceptible to other, more severe injuries. Continuing to put pressure on your injury can also traumatize it further and lead to more severe pain in the following days. It is always better to take a conservative approach and give your body the rest it needs to fully recover
What SHOULD I Do?
Immediately following your injury, the best treatment plan is the R.I.C.E. method. R.I.C.E. Rice stands for Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate. This means you should immediately sit down and stay off of your injured ankle, compress your injury with an ice pack to reduce swelling and sit with your foot elevated. When you injure yourself, blood rushes to the spot of the injury and causes swelling. This also impacts blood circulation throughout the body. Elevating your foot uses gravity to pull blood away from the injured area, reducing swelling and restoring normal blood flow.
When Should I See A Doctor?
After consistently resting and using the R.I.C.E. method, your ankle should feel significantly better. After about a week, if you don’t feel like your pain and mobility have improved, then you should make an appointment with your doctor. From here, your doctor can conduct more in-depth assessments and provide a treatment plan that works best with your lifestyle and your injury.
It can be so hard for athletes, young athletes especially, so stay off their feet and take a few days off from playing the sport they love. But, these couple of days could be the difference between a long-term and a short-term injury. It’s better to miss that practice or that game or that morning workout a few times than to push your body too far and cause a more severe injury that takes much longer to recover from. One week of prevention is worth the months, or even years, of severe injury that can come from not listening to your body.
Interested in learning more? Contact us at Lexington Podiatry for additional information.