Care for Ankle Sprains
WHAT IS AN ANKLE SPRAIN?
An ankle sprain is a stretch or tear of the ligaments that hold the ankle-foot bones together. Your ankle ligaments hold your joint together to limit excessive motion and keep your ankle safe from twists.
Ankle sprains are graded by severity from Grade I to Grade III. With a Grade III sprain you usually cannot bear weight right after the injury or in the emergency room.
There are 3 types of ankle sprains: lateral (outside aspect), medial (inside aspect) and syndesmosis (between the 2 lower leg bones. The most common sprain is the lateral or inversion sprain.
Lateral Ankle Ligaments
CARE FOR YOUR ANKLE SPRAIN
Wear your Aircast ankle brace with a lace-up (athletic) shoe and crew sock all the time while up for a full 3 week period. This enables your ligaments time to heal well, & helps prevent recurrent ankle sprains.
Take your Aircast off 3 times per day and do the following active range of motion and stretching exercises for your foot and ankle to prevent stiffness.
- Toe Pumps: Move all toes together up & down, alternating 10-20 times.
- Ankle Pumps: Move ankle up & down, alternating 10-20 times.
- Ankle Circles: Circle ankle clockwise, then counterclockwise, 10-20 times each way.
- Calf Stretch: Long sitting with your leg straight, place a towel around the ball of your foot. Holding each end of the towel, pull your foot and ankle up, placing a stretch on the back of your leg (calf muscle.) Hold 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times. See graphic below for example.
Do for the first week following your ankle sprain:
- R - Rest from all painful activity. No sports for 3 weeks!)
- I - Ice. Apply an ice pack to your ankle for 15 to 20 minutes. Do 3 times per day after exercises. Place dry layer of towel between your skin and ice pack to prevent frostbite. Secure with an ace wrap or towel.
- C -Compression. Wrap your ankle with an Ace Bandage under your Aircast to decrease swelling.
- E -Elevation. Raise your ankle up on pillows, chair seat, sofa when applying ice. Avoid having your ankle hang down for long periods to prevent swelling.