Most ankle sprains are the same: you rolled your foot inwards and now the outside of your foot has swelled up. You may have difficulty putting weight on the ankle. It might be turning purple or blue.
The reason you rolled your ankle inwards is simple. It is very difficult to roll your ankle outwards because of the large bump on the outside of your ankle. That bump, which is the bottom portion of the leg bone called the fibula, limits the movement of your foot. The bump on the inside of your ankle, however, does not limit movement inwards.
So the only prevention from rolling your ankle inwards too far are the strong ligaments on the outside of the ankle. They act by tugging on the bones to try to hold them in place. But if your whole body weight suddenly forces the ankle to roll inwards, those ligaments will get suddenly stretched and injured... and that's what we call a sprained ankle. If blood vessels are also damaged, then your ankle will become purple or other funny colors.
Many ankle sprains do not require an X-ray to look for a broken or chipped bone. Your doctor should be able to determine whether or not you need an X-ray.
Your ankle will heal on its own in time, but only if it is allowed to do so. In fact, your body always heals itself if the conditions are right. Using the acronym PRICE, here are the five most important things that YOU can do to help the healing of your ankle:
P - PROTECT
Your first job ought to make sure that you don't reinjure those ligaments. A second sprain is often worse than the first and will take even longer to heal.
R - REST
This doesn't mean bed rest, nor that you should stay off your feet for 6-8 weeks. It does mean that you should play it safe. If there's no need to play soccer or jog the Peoria riverfront, you probably shouldn't.
I - ICE
This is critical. The ice will not only have an analgesic effect (helping the pain go away), but it will also reduce swelling and inflammation in the area. Ten minutes on, an hour off.
C - COMPRESS
Taping your ankle or wearing a simple air cast will help to compress your ankle, also helping to prevent additional swelling. If the tape is too tight you'll cut off all circulation to the foot, but the tape should be snug.
E - ELEVATE
Again, this is an anti-swelling maneuver. If you can lift your ankle above the level of your heart, you'll be able to use gravity to get the fluids out of your foot and back to the rest of your body.
How We Can Help Your Sprained Ankle
There are several very important things that a chiropractor can do to help your ankle. The violent motion of the sprain may have misaligned your heel bone and other bones of your ankle. Until these bones are properly realigned, you'll aggravate those ligaments every time you walk or run. The gentle Activator Methods chiropractic technique that we use at Johnson Family Chiropractic will not aggravate your ankle pain further, but will help to restore the proper relationship between bones and the ligaments.
Cold laser therapy is also very useful for ankle sprains. The cold laser helps to speed up healing times by providing energy directly to the cells of the ligaments, which are usually poor in blood supply. Those cells use the energy for healing. Ultrasound therapy may also help you by driving away swelling in the area. And, once your ankle is improving, a doctor of chiropractic can also help you to begin moving and strengthening your ankle in order to prevent further injury down the road.
If you are interested in learning more about Activator adjustments, cold laser therapy, or ultrasound therapy, contact your Peoria chiropactor today for an office tour or a consultation.