Ankle Sprains During the Covid-19 Pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic results in people walking in large numbers to escape home isolation – I am seeing more and more families, individuals, some with pets, out walking to avoid going crazy from being inside their homes – If you are unfortunate to sprain your ankle, I have included some helpful ways to help.
Each day, more than 26,000 people sprain their ankles. Half of them won’t ever seek medical care. 1/3 will continue to have pain and disability 3 years later with 20% re-spraining their ankle. 70% will continue to have weak ankles affecting their balance and stability.
In a 2017 study of > 800,000 ankle sprains, only 6.8% received medical care (physical therapy) within 30 days of the injury. Studies have shown that a 4-week supervised rehab (stretching/strengthening/balance training) reduces the chance of re-spraining significantly.
Within the first 12 months of injury, avoiding a second sprain will lessen the risk of a re-sprain to baseline. This suggests that even a mild sprain requires adequate time to heal.
The following are recommendations of things you can do to treat a mild sprain and reduce the chance for a future sprain. * More severe sprains require immediate medical attention to rule out a more severe problem (i.e. fracture)*
Signs of a more severe ankle injury include:
1. Unable to bear weight onto injured leg
2. Tenderness to touch ankle bones
TRY THE FOLLOWING
RICE: control pain and swelling
REST – Avoid activities which are painful
ICE – apply ice for 10-15 minutes to painful site (usually outer ankle) several times/day for initial 2-3 days
COMPRESSION – apply a compressive dressing around ankle to support ankle and control swelling
ELEVATION – elevate foot/ankle above the level of your heart when lying or sitting
WALKING: weightbearing as tolerated
Continue to walk as pain allows. You may need to decrease distance to avoid pain and swelling – if you find yourself limping, wearing an ankle brace or some support can help in the short-term
BRACES: control pain/swelling/reduce re-injury chance
Lace-up braces work quite well
EXERCISES: control pain/reduce stiffness/limit weakness *avoid any exercise which is painful*
1. Ankle alphabet – move ankle to form letters
2. Standing calf stretch – perform stretch for 30 seconds - Do with back leg straight and with knee bent
3. Heel raises (if pain allows) – 10-15 times
4. Balance on one leg - 30 sec.
5. Rubber band ankle curls – 10-15 times each
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