Friday 4 January 2013

Caring for a Sprained Ankle

Wednesday afternoon I slipped and fell on a driveway in Mont Tremblant. My right leg slid forward as my left foot caught on something and bent under me. So instead of bringing home a tee shirt as a souvenir, I brought home a sprained ankle.

Luckily it happened a couple of hours before I was due to fly back home so it didn't interrupt our vacation. I have had sprains before and knew it wasn't broken so I didn't bother going to the doctors when I got back.

There are three categories of sprained ankles:

Grade 1 sprain: Slight stretching and some damage to the fibers (fibrils) of the ligament.

Grade 2 sprain: Partial tearing of the ligament. If the ankle joint is examined and moved in certain ways, abnormal looseness (laxity) of the ankle joint occurs.

Grade 3 sprain: Complete tear of the ligament. If the examiner pulls or pushes on the ankle joint in certain movements, gross instability occurs.

Although my ankle was quite swollen, as you can see in the picture above, I feel like it is just a Grade 1 sprain as I don't feel any looseness in any part of my ankle. The inside of my ankle is tender but the outside is sore, not just in the ankle area but part way up the outside of my leg. I especially notice it when I climb into bed and roll the outside of my leg on the edge of the mattress.

The diagram to the right shows what I would have stretched.

The past couple of days I have been using the RICE method in the last couple of days to allow it to heal.

Rest. Ice. Compression, Elevation. I have been resting icing it every couple of hour or so since I got back and the swelling has gone down substantially. We have gel cold packs but a bag of ice, or my favorite a frozen bag of peas, works great. Also, place a tea towel or light cloth over the ankle before applying the ice or you can get frostbite, plus it hurts like hell. The cold seeps through the cloth quickly and allows for a longer icing session.

I also keep it elevated as much as possible. The only time I have applied compression to it was when Teena and I had to head out for some errands this morning. Now the rest of the vacation will be rest.

Tomorrow I am going to attempt to start some rehab exercises and will post what they are and how it goes tomorrow.

Update: I decided instead to go to Lauren my physiotherapist rather than researching rehab exercises online. Physio was a much better idea than doing it myself. For an injury like this, and to ensure it heals right, physiotherapy is the way to go!

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