How To Heal A Sprained Ankle Fast – 5 Amazing Secrets You Can Do At Home
No matter how seasoned you are as a runner, it is impossible to prevent unforeseen events such as minor injuries like sprains. Getting a sprain doesn’t mean that you are careless since sprains are often a result of running on uneven surfaces.
When the ankle is twisted in an awkward position, some ligaments may tear and cause the sprain. For sure, you want to be back on your routine as soon as possible so here are valuable tips on how to heal a sprained ankle fast.
Why Treat Your Ankle Fast
Type Of Sprains
Having a sprained ankle often means that either one or multiple ligaments of your ankle were stretched or torn during your run. If not properly treated, it can lead to long-term problems. There are three types of sprains:
- Inversion sprain
This is when the ankle rolls inward
- Eversion or Outward sprain
This is when the ankle rolls outward
- High sprain
This is when the ankle receives damage to the high ankle ligaments.
The reason you sprained your ankle is likely because at some point your toes were facing upward and heels were up. This put too much pressure on your ankles’ ligaments causing the sprain.
- A more serious sprain is if the inner side of the ankle is painful. In this case, a doctor should be consulted.
If you have a general ankle sprain, taking a trip to the doctor may not be necessary. If you address the issue properly, you can cure your ankle right at home.
Factors Increasing Risk Of Ankle Sprain
As common as sprains are, there are some factors that may increase your risk. This include:
- Not warming up properly - Doing the right warm up exercises before run conditions your muscles allowing them to loosen.
- Tired muscles - When your muscles are fatigued, they are not able to support your joints and easily succumb to stress
- Environment - Things such as uneven surfaces may trigger ankle sprains
- Using improper equipment - Not wearing the right kind of footwear can increase the risk of spraining your ankle. This is probably one of the most common triggers of a sprained ankle that can also cause nerves to compress in your feet. Some symptoms that show you have wrong fitting shoes include getting blisters, getting inflamed tendon and having cracked toenails or bruised toes.
Determining The Degree of Sprain
Before we go into the details of how to treat your sprained ankle, it is important that we identify the kind of sprains first. Sprains vary in degree:
This is also called a first-degree sprain and happens when there is only a slight tear in your ankle ligament. Your joint is unaffected and there are little pain and minor swelling. You may also feel stiffness in some areas.
Degree sprain is more serious than the one above. Your joint is unstable and you may see some swelling. The pain is more serious especially when standing or walking.
Sprain happens when the ligament is torn completely. In this case, standing or walking without any support is not possible. The pain is severe and swelling more prominent.
How To Heal Sprained Ankle
If you experience the first or second kind of sprain, there are five things that can be done in order to heal your condition and avoid visiting a doctor. On the other hand, if you have a serious sprain, it’s best you seek professional help as soon as possible.
What You Will Need
- Cane or Crutches for moving around
- Ice pack
- Elastic wraps
- P - Protection
- R - Rest
- I - Ice
- C - Compression
- E - Elevation
Here are steps to follow:
To Heal Sprained Ankle
P - Protect Your Ankle
- Do not massage your ankle when it is swelling
- Wear protective footwear such as shoes with soft soles or thick socks
R - Rest From Physical Activities
- Avoid putting any pressure on the ankle for the first 3 days
- Use a cane or crutches for support if you need to go around
- Minimize physical activity as much as possible
I - Ice To Alleviate Swelling
- Ice acts as an anti-inflammatory substance by constricting the blood vessels
- Put an ice pack on for 15-20 minutes with 30 minute intervals during the first few days
- Put cold water in a bucket and submerge your foot instead if ice is too cold
- Be careful not to keep the ice too long on your skin or it may cause damage
C - Compress Your Joint
- Use elastic wraps to bandage your ankle to mid-calf to help distribute the weight evenly
- Makes sure you exert equal force when wrapping, so it isn’t too tight nor too loose
- Loosen it a bit if you see the swelling increase, have a tingling feeling, get numb or feel pain, it means you wrapped it too tight so
E - Elevate The Foot Above The Heart
- Elevate your foot for at least three hours daily during the first three days
- Helps drain liquid from the injury and reduce swelling
How Long Will It Take To Heal?
Factors Affect To Your Recovery
After you have followed the aforementioned treatment methods, you are likely expecting your ankle to get better in no time. The truth is that the amount of time it takes to cure a sprain will depend on a number of variables mainly:
- The degree of the sprain. Sprains are categorized into three types depending on degree, third degree being the most severe.
- Your age and additional medical conditions
Time To Recovery
- First degree sprain: 1 - 2 weeks
- Second degree sprain: 3 - 6 weeks
- Third degree sprain: 8 - 12 months
4 Additional Recovery Tips
The journey to your total recovery may depend greatly on how serious your sprain is and how well you take care of it. It is therefore very important that you do not rush into any form of physical activity immediately you feel better. Doing so may cause further injury. Follow the following tips to ensure a safe recovery:
Tip #1: Increase Your Mobility By Doing Foot Exercises
These may include simple exercises such as ankle rotations which can be done while sitting on a chair. Such exercises help the ligaments in your ankle to recover faster. Always rest if you feel any pain or swelling afterward.
Tip #2: Get Your Normal Muscle Range By Stretching Exercises
Since the calf muscles tighten after an ankle sprain, you need to stretch them so they return to their normal flexibility. An example is standing with hands placed on a wall and then stepping backward so your calf muscles stretch.
Tip #3: Help Your Ankle Regain Its Strength
This is only possible once you can at least stand without feeling pain. A simple way to do this is to push your foot toward a wall and hold the position for a few minutes.
Tip #4: Get Your Balance Back
A sprained ankle often results in loss of balance. In order to regain your balance, stand on your injured foot and raise your other foot extending your arms.
Preventing Ankle Sprain
Experiencing a sprained ankle is not something you want to repeat. Once you totally recover, make sure you follow the following preventive measures.
- Always wear shoes that offer good support. Depending on the kind of terrain you will be running, purchase shoes that fit well and are comfortable.
- Be careful when running on uneven surfaces. This is especially since your ankle is still weak after injury.
- Always warm up before engaging in any physical activity. This may be include walking for a while before you run or lowering your intensity.
We hope you enjoyed our five tips on how to heal a sprained ankle fast. There is no need to be hasty about visiting a doctor especially if the sprain is first or second degree. No matter the cause of the sprain, following the P.R.I.C.E therapy method will ensure that you are back on your feet as soon as possible.
If you have any suggestions of how to treat ankle sprains, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Please let us know what you thought about this article.