Kansas Football Tries To Knock Off Texas On The Road Ankle Sprain

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Ankle Sprain

I think almost everyone has experienced the pain of a sprained ankle at some point in their life, most of us more than once. Most active or athletic people will experience pain from a sprained ankle at some point. When I was a medic with a rifle company in the Army National Guard, it was a common injury. When I played football or basketball or even baseball in high school, I also sprained my ankles a few times.

So what exactly is an ankle sprain? According to the Micromedex files at the hospital where I work, an ankle sprain is “when the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn.” He had thought that torn ligaments were a separate and more serious injury than a sprain. As an Army National Guard medic and Navy Corpsman, as well as a personal trainer, he still felt that a torn ligament was different and more serious than a sprain. However, that is what Micromedex says.

However, I agree that the cause of sprained ankle or torn ligaments can and often is exactly the same. That is, both are usually caused when there is a sudden injury to the ankle. On the baseball diamond, he might come sliding toward the plate or cause his foot to “spin” as he lands on the plate. Just walking down the street, you could slip on a hole and sprain your ankle. A football player could have his legs “pulled out from under him” by a tackler and sprain his ankle or knee. Any type of trauma that twists or bends the ankle in an unusual way can cause a sprain.

If you have an ankle injury you may need x-rays, make sure you don’t have any broken bones. If there are no broken bones, the ankle should heal in approximately 4 to 6 weeks. Depending on the severity of the sprain, you may have weakness for 6-18 months, although I have had sprains many times and with proper treatment and therapy, even 6 months seems like a long period unless the ligaments are torn.

You are likely to experience considerable pain with an ankle sprain, but most doctors will suggest using Tylenol or another NSAID for pain relief. The acronym RICE is usually the way a sprain is treated.

Rice stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

Rest the affected ankle for at least 24 hours if possible

Apply ice to the area to help reduce swelling. It is common practice to apply ice to the area for 15 to 20 minutes every hour for the first 48 hours. Use an ice pack and place a towel between the ice and your skin.

After 48 hours, you may want to use heat, such as warm wet towels, instead of ice.

Depending on the severity of the sprain, your doctor may apply an elastic bandage or a splint, or both, to place on your ankle. Follow the instructions given as this can help in a faster recovery.

You should also elevate the affected ankle above your heart whenever possible. This will help reduce swelling.

By doing these things and following the RICE protocol, you will aid in the healing of your sprain and therefore heal faster.

Some people strongly believe in the use of supplements and herbs, so below is a short list of some supplements that have been used in the treatment of ankle sprains.

Herbs such as Boswellia (Boswellia serrata) have been used for many years, but there have been no double-blind studies on their effectiveness in ankle sprains.

Capsaicin cream (Capsicum frutescens) can be applied to an ankle injury to help ease pain. This is actually made from Cayenne Pepper and is said to be irritating for the first few applications and then the irritation stops. If you use this, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly to avoid getting the substance in your eyes.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is another herb that has been used for many years, but no scientific study has ever been done to determine its effectiveness.

Willow (Salix alba) an herb that has been used for many years for ankle sprains but has not been studied in a controlled setting for efficacy.

Supplements like DMSO, D-phenylalanine, glucosamine sulfate, niacinamide, vitamin A, and vitamin C have also been used in the treatment of ankle sprains.

Acupuncture and acupressure, as well as massage and physical therapy, have been used in the treatment of ankle sprains.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be construed in any way as medical advice. If you have an injury or illness, you should see a health care provider.

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