A sprain is a stretch and/or tear of a ligament which is a string band of connective tissue that connects the end of one bone with another.
The most common ankle soft tissue injuries are muscle, tendon and ligaments. Sprains, strains and contusions as well as tendinitis and bursitis are common soft tissue injuries as well.
Acute soft tissue injuries vary in type and severity. When an acute injury occurs initial treatment with the RICE protocol is usually very effective.
REST* Take a break from the activity causing the injury. You may need crutches to avoid putting weight on your ankle.
ICE* Use cold packs for 20 minutes at a time. Repeat the ice every three to four hours. Do NOT apply the ice directly to your skin but wrap it in a towel.
COMPRESS* To prevent additional swelling apply an ACE Wrap bandage. But do NOT put the wrap on too tightly which can cause the circulating blood to be obstructed.
ELEVATE* To reduce the swelling elevate the injury higher than your heart when seated.
It is most important to know how to prevent the initial injury. Ankle injuries often occur when activities are suddenly increased (weekend warriors). The duration, intensity or frequency of activities can cause unnecessary injury. Some tips to prevent these ankle injuries include:
- Use proper Equipment – Replace your athletic shoes as they wear our and wear comfortable clothing.
- Make sure you warm up to prepare to exercise. Warming up includes stretching which increases heart rate and blood flow and loosens up your muscle.
- Most importantly if you feel pain stop the activity immediately and use the R.I.C.E. protocol.
- Also remember if you have questions about sprains or strains seek treatment from you medical provider.