What Is a Sprained Ankle?
A sprained ankle is one of the most common injuries, with most people having experienced it at least once in their life. This seemingly harmless injury can cause lifelong problems if neglected, but a little care and attention can go a long way when treating sprains. Wrapping a sprained ankle with a gauze bandage roll around your foot & ankle can help in reducing swelling.
How to Identify a Sprained Ankle?
A sprained ankle is an injury that occurs if you turn or twist your ankle in an abnormal manner which causes ligaments around the ankle to get torn or stretched beyond their limit. If you are wondering if the injury you have experienced is a sprained ankle or not, here are a few symptoms that you can consult to properly determine this:
- Sound or feel of pop while getting injured
- Pain, especially when weight is put on the foot
- Restricted motion of the foot
- Unsteadiness of the ankle
- Sore ankle
Severe sprains and fractures have similar causes and symptoms but require different care procedures. Sprains can be treated at home by wrapping a sprained ankle and healing much faster than fractures that need professional intervention. Leaving both untreated can cause lifelong problems. It is recommended to contact a doctor and discuss your symptoms with them, particularly if the pain is unbearable. It is important to rule out the possibility of a fracture by evaluating the injury via an x-ray.
How to Care for a Sprained Ankle
Once you have identified the sprain and discussed it with a medical professional, you can start caring for the injury. An easy way to remember the important steps to care for a sprained ankle is by using the acronyms RICE or PRICE.
Protect Rest Ice Compression Elevation
Protect: Minimize the load on the injured ankle and keep it shielded from further injury.
Rest: Rest or minimized activity allows the injury to heal quicker.
Ice: Ice helps with reducing pain and swelling, particularly in the 48 hours following the injury. (Refrain from applying ice directly to the skin; use a cold compress or ice pack wrapped in a cloth or towel).
Compression: Compression can help with reducing swelling. The amount of compression varies depending on the symptoms. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to slip two fingers under the elastic bandage, or else it would be too tight. You should have good blood circulation in the toes.
Elevation: Keeping the foot elevated can prevent blood from pooling, reducing swelling and bruising. (Blood pooling in the foot can worsen the pre-existing swelling or bruising).
Wrapping a Sprained Ankle with Gauze Bandage – 4 Easy Steps
Ligaments keep your joints stable so tearing one could result in the ankle being unstable and prone to re-injury. Wrapping a sprained ankle is essential to provide support and decrease swelling and bruising while the ligaments heal. It is particularly important to wrap the ankle if the foot is not going to be in a state of rest or elevation.
Step 1: Carefully clean and dry the ankle before wrapping a sprained ankle. Roll the gauze bandage, holding it in one hand, and holding the loose end of the bandage in the other. Put the loose end behind your toes and wrap around the foot in a spiral motion, slowly moving towards the ankle.
Step 2: After securely wrapping the foot, start wrapping a sprained ankle in a figure-of-eight pattern.
Step 3: Move toward the heel on the bottom and toward the calf at the top of the eight. Wrap the entire foot and end approximately three inches above the ankle.
Step 4: Secure the end with tape or clip fasteners. Check the amount of compression. If the toes feel tingly/ numb or appear blue/purple, redo the process keeping the bandage looser than before.
Prevention and After-care
Along with wrapping a sprained ankle with bandage to prevent the occurrence or re-occurrence of a sprained ankle injury, the following steps may help:
- Do stretching or warm-up exercises before any physical exertion.
- Take care when walking or running on an uneven surface.
- Wear sensible and comfortable shoes.
- Improve strength, balance, and flexibility through regular exercise.
- Use a brace to support your ankle if it feels weak.
- Change the bandage regularly as per medical professional prescription after wrapping a sprained ankle once.
People recovering from ankle sprains may suffer from persistent symptoms including pain, swelling, and restricted motion. They are also more prone to getting another sprained ankle in the future. For long-lasting symptoms, it is best to seek rehabilitation from a professional- a physical therapist for example- who can help manage pain and decrease the risk of re-injury.