Now that the weather is finally starting to warm up, you'll probably be heading outside for some fun in the sun. If that fun involves any type of physical activity, there's always a chance that you'll sprain your ankle. While there are some things you can do to reduce your chances of suffering a sprained ankle, such as wearing the proper shoes and watching where you step, there's no way to completely prevent them. That's why it's important for you to know what to do if you sprain your ankle. Here are four steps you should take if you suffer a sprained ankle this summer.
Assess the Injury
As soon as you sprain your ankle, you need to do a quick assessment of the injury. You don't want to get up and try to walk it off -- trying to walk off a sprained ankle can actually make the injury much worse. Instead, you want to sit down wherever you are and give yourself a few minutes to rest. After a few minutes, try to stand up. If you're unable to bear weight on your ankle, you feel weak, or you're experiencing a sharp throbbing pain, you'll need to seek immediate medical attention. You may be dealing with more than a minor sprained ankle.
Load Up on the RICE
If you're able to bear weight on your ankle, you'll need to have someone help you home. You shouldn't drive yourself while you're dealing with a recent sprained ankle. Once you get home, you should load up on the RICE; rest, ice, compression, and elevation. First, find a comfortable place to rest and take the weight off your ankle. Second, apply ice packs to your ankle to relieve the pain and swelling. Third, apply an elastic sports wrap or brace to your ankle. Finally, whenever you sit down or lie down, make sure you elevate your ankle for additional relief from swelling.
Go Easy on the Sports
While you're recovering from your sprained ankle, it's important that you go easy on the physical activities, especially sports. You don't want to re-aggravate the injury. Once you're able to walk without pain, you'll be able to start with the sports again -- just remember to start out slowly.
Seek Medical Attention
Most minor sprains will heal on their own with plenty of rest. However, if your sprained ankle doesn't begin to feel better after a few days, or you develop additional pain, you'll need to seek medical attention as soon as possible. You can contact your local family medical care center for more information.