For some school-aged athletes, winter break is a time to slow down and rest up. For others, however, it’s time to get in extra conditioning to prepare for the rest of the winter sports season. More and more young athletes push their bodies and train hard to compete well in their chosen sport. This isn’t always a bad thing, but it does put students at risk for injuries like ankle sprains. These injuries don’t have to be season-ending, though. First aid for an ankle sprain can help your young athlete recover quickly and get back in the game.
An ankle sprain is an overstretched or possibly torn ligament supporting the ankle joint. This painfully destabilizes the lower limb, making it uncomfortable to put pressure on the affected foot—and making it likely that the joint will actually give out underneath your young athlete. It does take some intentional care for a sprain to heal correctly, but the right first aid can make a significant difference in his or her recovery.
The best way to take care of ankle sprains is to use the RICE method:
R – Rest the joint for a few days at the very least. This does mean taking a break from sports. Pressure and hard impacts can worsen the damage and increase how long your young athlete has to sit out in the long run, so don’t cut short on the rest.
I – Ice the painful joint to help discourage swelling and inflammation in the tissues. This will also help decrease the discomfort.
C – Compress the ankle to discourage edema in the damaged tissues. A regular Ace bandage works well for this, just make sure it isn’t wrapped so tightly that it restricts circulation to the foot.
E – Elevate the foot on a cushion to prevent fluid from pooling in the injured area. This also helps your young athlete rest the ankle properly.
You’ll need to have the damage examined if the pain persists for too long after using first aid for an ankle sprain. The injury may need more involved treatment or have some complications. The one thing an athlete shouldn’t do, though, is ignore the problem. Let Dr. Darren Silvester and the Next Step Foot & Ankle Clinic team help your son or daughter deal with ankle sprains. Call (830) 569-3338 or use the web request form to reach our office in Pleasanton, TX.