What Happens if You Don't Know Better
You sprain your ankle and go to the emergency room. They take an x-ray and it isn't broken. You get put on crutches. No one tells you to put weight on it. Sometimes you are told not to put weight on it. You might get an ankle brace. It makes sense - it hurts to move it and put weight on it. The problem is that most of the time you will end up with a painful, swollen, stiff, and weak ankle.
What Should You Do First?
If it hurts to walk on it and you have crutches use them but put some weight on your injured ankle when you walk. You should gradually increase the amount of weight you put on you ankle as long as it doesn't hurt too much. It's OK if you have "a little" extra pain when you do this. If the pain gets worse or doesn't get better over a few days then you need to get it checked out.
You Should Move Your Ankle
The second simple way to speed your recovery is to move your ankle as much as possible. Move your foot upand down. Move your foot side to side. You can use your big toe to "write out: " the alphabet. If you havee a lot of swelling, do the movement with your foot elevated.
Make Sure You Elevate Your Ankle for Swelling
If your ankle is swollen you should elevate it. That means you ankle is higher than your knee and you knee is higher than you hip. If you just sit with you foot on a stool level with the chair the swelling doesn't drain out. Even in a recliner you need to put your foot up on pillows.
Your pain will start to go away. It may take a few days. Get rid of the crutches when you feel confident. It you are not getting better or are not sure about what to do give us a call. Make sure you full recover - if not you might end up spraining your ankle over and over. See the October 2017 post on chronic ankle sprains to learn how test to test yourself to see if you are at risk for chronic ankle sprains.
Christopher DiPasquale, PhD, PT, OCS, SCS, CHT is a physical therapist at Performance Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine with offices in Hebron and Colchester, Connecticut. He is board certified by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Sports Physical Therapy and a Certified Hand Therapist by the Hand Therapy Certification Committee.
For more information visit pptsm.com or call the office: Colchester 860-537-3014 or Hebron 860-228-4883