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What Are the Best Tips for Treating a Sprained Ankle Ligament?

Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari
Updated May 17, 2024
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A sprained ankle ligament occurs when that group of tissues is stressed beyond its capacity to bend, thereby leading to slight tearing of the tiny fibers that make up the ligaments. More severe sprains can lead to ruptures of the ligament, which will require a surgery to correct. In most cases, treatment for a sprained ankle ligament revolves around the RICE treatment, or rest, ice, compression, and elevation. The ankle will need to be immobilized to prevent any movement of the joint during the healing process. These injuries can be painful and can take a long time to heal properly.

When the injury occurs, the person suffering the sprained ankle ligament injury should immediately remove weight from that ankle. The RICE treatment should be applied as soon as possible after the injury occurs; this helps prevent or reduce swelling, improves blood flow to the injury, and promotes faster healing time. Ice can also help reduce pain, as can elevation. Continuing to use the ankle after it has been injured can lead to a worsening of the injury, as well as excess swelling that can lead to more pain. It is best to consult a doctor immediately so the severity of the sprained ankle ligament injury can be assessed.

Unfortunately, most sprained ankle ligament injuries take a long time to heal, and the person who incurred the injury cannot do much bust rest the affected ankle. The joint can be wrapped in a bandage to help control swelling and reduce movement, and crutches can be used to allow the patient to remain mobile during the healing process. More serious sprains may need to be addressed surgically, especially if a rupture occurs. A doctor will need to reattach the ligament, and in some cases part of the tissue of that ligament may need to be cut away.

If a surgery is necessary, the patient can expect an even longer recovery time from the sprained ankle ligament injury. Once the healing process is underway, the doctor may recommend physical therapy to help restore strength and mobility to the ankle, but such rehabilitation should not be started without the consent of a doctor, as such movement can adversely affect the injury if it is begun too soon after the injury occurs or after surgery has been performed. In the meantime, a doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications or painkillers to help reduce swelling and pain.

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