By Matt Bushell, Physiotherapist
Whatever the situation may be; you stepped in a hole, tripped down the stairs, or botched an attempt at a kickflip, the end result is an ankle that is swollen, sore, and doesn’t like you when you try and walk on it…
Many of you will be familiar with the RICE acronym, but may not have heard of POLICE (Protect, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and in terms of ankle sprains, it works quite well.
What YOU can do straight away:
Protect – Give the ankle some rest and avoid activities that turn your pain up too much.
Ice – Apply ice for up to 20 minutes every 2 hours. Ensure you don’t leave the ice on long enough for your ankle to go numb and always wait for your skin to return to normal temperature before reapplying more ice.
Compression – A compression bandage or sock will help to control and dissipate swelling. To make sure you don’t have it too tight, squeeze your toenail and count how long it takes to return to a normal colour. This time should not change with the bandage/sock on.
Elevation – Swelling clears from an area due to either gravity or repeated contraction and relaxation of muscles (like a pump). If we’re resting, our muscles won’t be doing a whole lot, so give gravity a helping hand by raising your foot to somewhere around the level of your heart – lying on a couch with your foot on a pillow works nicely.
What WE (your friendly Auscare Physio) can help you with:
Protect – We can advise you on the right amount of protection. At some point, too much protection via inactivity becomes unhelpful as our body requires movement to be healthy and stimulate the regeneration of cells including muscle, tendon, ligament, and bone.
Optimal Loading – After an ankle sprain, not only do we have pain, but we have losses in strength, power, range of motion, balance, and confidence. A physio can design and progress a program that not only improves these parameters but can tailor it to your sports and/or hobbies ensuring that your return is safe, successful and the chances of reinjury are minimised.