Ankle sprains are one of the most common sporting injuries. If you experience an ankle sprain for the first time it can be surprising how much they hurt.
How you manage the injury in the initial inflammatory phase can make all the difference to how quickly and how well you recover and return to sport. Hopefully you have heard of the R.I.C.E. approach to managing an acute sports injury. This is the best approach to follow. Compress the ankle as soon as possible with a compression bandage. Ice the ankle for 15-20 minutes at a time repeatedly. Maybe ice every couple of hours. The best way to ice it is in a bucket of ice and water. Stick the foot in… it will hurt initially but will soon go numb. When you finish the 15-20 minutes in the ice bucket you can leave it there until next time and just chuck in some more ice when it is time. Elevate the ankle by lying down and getting the foot up.
The other thing to do is come and see a Sports Physiotherapist. If you can’t take your body weight on your ankle come and have it assessed straight away. You may need an Xray. If you can still walk on the ankle it may be fine to see your physio after 48 hours. But use the 48 hours well with the R.I.C.E approach.
The next step in managing your ankle injury will totally depend on what you have injured and how severe it is. The goal of treating ankle sprains is to return to sport safely, quickly and with the lowest possible risk of re-injury.
Written by Sam Bugeja, Sports Physiotherapist