Although uncomfortable, sprained ankles commonly occur and most people in their lifetime get one. Most are caused by an awkward or accidental force on the ankle, which in turn stretches and sometimes tears the outer ligaments of your ankle.
You can expect different levels of bruising around the ankle and swelling. However, sprains can be hard to tell from fractures. If you cannot put weight on your foot or ankle after the injury occurs, it is best to seek a professional medical opinion. If the injury is simply a sprain, the aftercare for a sprained ankle is important because if not healed or recovered properly, more damage can occur. Follow these few simple steps and tips to help your ankle recovery correctly.
Avoid putting weight on your ankle as much as possible. Of course, running or jumping is out of the question, but even minimize how much you walk on it. If necessary, use crutches to help yourself get around. Depending on how bad the sprain is, resting and recovery can take weeks. Another option to consider is an ankle brace, which reduces swelling and helps with stability. In general, any time of compression while resting is helpful. However, do not leave any bandages on the ankle while you sleep because it may cut off circulation.
Ice Your Ankle
Get an ice pack that you can use to put on your ankle, but cover it in a cloth to avoid direct contact with skin. The coolness of the ice helps reduce swelling. It is best if you ice your ankle in increments of time, so aim to ice it for 30 minutes every two or three hours, then remove the ice pack. If your ankle gets too cold, just remove the ice pack for a while. Do this at your own comfortability.
Keep Your Ankle Elevated
Prop your ankle on a pillow or any material that is comfortable. The angle should be about at your waist or chest level. Reclining your ankle like this will help it heal. You can even ice it at this time as well.
At your own pace, slowly start to take small steps toward rehabilitation. For example, after the first few days wiggle your toes or start to add length but a small amount of pressure. This is to avoid letting your ankle get too stiff and to make sure the ankle is healing and is not a more serious injury. Be careful not to stretch the ligament on the ankle, though, because this area needs to be healed and left alone.
Overall, the most important thing to bear in mind is to listen to your body. Do not overexert yourself or your ankle, or else it could worsen and recovery will take longer. If after a few weeks the pain in your ankle worsens or does not get better, or if at any time the pain is very severe, see a doctor.