Easy First Aid for a Sprained Ankle

Pink Foot and Ankle CastThe ski resorts in the Rocky Mountains have been busy selling passes, and the slopes are shaping up nicely. Maybe you’ve already been out for that first run of the season in the crisp, cold mountain air at Winter Park, Copper Mountain, or Arapahoe Basin. Keep in mind that it is easy to hurt yourself while skiing. Even though modern ski boots and equipment have greatly reduced ankle injuries, you could still come home from skiing with a sprained ankle, especially if you slip and fall in the parking lot!

First determine how serious the sprain is. If the joint looks out of position, is extremely painful and swollen, or if you can’t stand to put any weight on it, get to an emergency room.

Otherwise, start RICE therapy as soon as possible. Take off anything constricting your foot (including jewelry) and rest your ankle—keep weight off it. Get a pair of crutches and use them. Then place an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas, with a thin cloth between it and your skin, and ice the area several times a day for 20 minutes at a time. This will help bring down the swelling and also lessen the pain. Follow that by wrapping it with an elastic bandage (not too tight) and elevating it above your heart as much as possible. Follow this routine for the first couple of days. Make sure when you wrap the ankle to begin at the toes and wrap upwards toward your ankle then knee. Don’t start high and work toward the toes.

Call our office for an appointment as soon as possible, even if your sprained ankle doesn’t seem that severe. Many people have suffered long-term problems like arthritis from an injury that didn’t heal properly. Don’t let that be your future. We can determine the extent of the damage, rule out a fracture, and prescribe the proper pain reliever or anti-inflammatory medication for your situation.

We will also guide your return to activity as the joint begins to heal. Doing too much too soon could mean a lifetime of weakness or instability in the joint. We can show you exercises that will help you return it to full function. Call Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center in Golden and Wheat Ridge, or in the mountain communities of Granby and Evergreen, CO, at (303) 423-2520 and set up an appointment. We’ll get you back to good foot health so you can get back on the slopes!

Photo credit: Sippakorn via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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