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What are the Best Tips for Recovering from a Sprained Ankle?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 01 June 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Recovering from a sprained ankle quickly is often possible with proper care and strengthening exercises. These actions may speed recovery from about a week to just a few days. While strengthening is important, too much pressure on a sprained ankle joint too soon can slow recovery rather than hasten it. Yet, at the same time, not moving the joint enough can cause the already weakened injured ankle to become even weaker.

Healing a sprained ankle is often said to best be done by using the rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) method. Yet, overdoing these elements or using them as the only way of recovering from a sprained ankle is not usually highly effective. While some rest of the injured joint is certainly needed for proper healing, "babying" it too much by not moving it very much can do more harm than good. Rather, many medical professionals advise that some weight should be placed on the ankle as soon as possible by walking on it within a few days of the injury. What shouldn't be done is for the person recovering from a sprained ankle to overdo the walking or place all of his or weight on the injured leg as it may become injured from the excess pressure.

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While walking evenly on both legs for moderate lengths of time when recovering from a sprained ankle is often highly beneficial, too much impact should be avoided. High energy sports may be possible a week or more after the ankle sprain, but shouldn't usually be done before that. While applying ice to a swollen sprained ankle is crucial to help bring down the swelling, strengthening movements done with elevation can also achieve the same effect plus provide other benefits to recovery. Moving the ankle and foot slowly in different directions while the leg is elevated on pillows helps drain fluids to relieve swelling. The movements also strengthen the ankle joint.

Raised leg ankle stretches also increase blood flow to aid in recovering from a sprained ankle. Since blood flow is crucial to healing, too much compression such as by tightly wrapping the joint in bandages should be avoided. In addition to stretches and slow foot movements while the leg is elevated, a physiotherapist may prescribe other strengthening exercises. If the recovering ankle doesn't become stronger, it will stay weak and the risk of it being injured again is high.

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