Ankle sprains typically take about 6 weeks to heal but the worst ones can take four whole months, so you may be wondering, and rightly so, how to heal a sprained ankle fast. Although no treatment can make miracles and healing is largely a matter or waiting, and waiting, and… Well, you shouldn’t be discouraged because these ten tips on how to heal a sprained ankle fast can help you get back on both of your feet a bit faster than expected. Most of these methods can also help you prevent injuring the same zone again and build some strength back into your ankle, which, after being immobilized for a while, will require some training after healing anyway.
10 Tips on How to Heal a Sprained Ankle Fast
Recover your mobility
Soon enough after being injured, you can work to regain and keep your mobility with range of motion exercises. Range of motion exercises are composed of motions in every direction that work the tendons in your ankle. Start by slowly rotating your foot in every direction and continue that motion as far as you can. Be careful not to injure your ankle further and stop if it hurts. The purpose of this exercise is to gently regain flexibility.
Stretch your heel cord tendon (the Achilles tendon) to keep your ankle flexible while it heals. Test your ankle every day by trying to stretch it but don’t insist if it still hurts. As soon as the pain subsides, start stretching on a daily basis. The best how to heal a sprained ankle fast practice is to keep going every day but don’t force your leg in any way.
Do exercises aimed at strengthening the muscles around the ankle. These muscles support and control walking and strengthening them will prevent further injuries. You can and should consult a doctor and ask for specific advice for your situation. In general, pressing the balls of your foot against an immovable surface acts as an isometric exercise, which increases your force without soliciting your range of motion. You can start exercising as soon as pain allows you to do so.
Regain your control and balance
Practice for obtaining better balance and fine control. To help your ankle and foot to regain the previously lost health, you can start control and balance exercises after a few days. Again, the best hint on whether or not it is safe to start is your own level of pain. You should, however, not try these exercises if you haven’t been able to do them easily before getting injured. If you’re not sure about this, a good way to tell is to try doing them with your other leg. Try gently, since you don’t want to have two sprained ankles at the same time. Balance exercises examples are standing and walking around on tiptoes; not like ballerinas, but the less difficult version where all your toes are on the ground – somewhat like walking on heels.
Consult a doctor after the injury
When you’re healing, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with and understand if you have a sprain or a fracture. Although sprain pain is different from more serious injuries, you won’ be able to tell them apart if you never felt neither before. This is where a physician comes in. The doctor will tell you what happened and how to take care of the injury. The more you listen to the doctor’s advice, the better chances of a fast recovery you will get. Physiotherapy treatment can help with the pain and quicken up the pace of recovery by allowing you to start your flexibility exercises without pain.
Getting specialized treatment from a physician and/or physiotherapist combines well with taking some anti-inflammatory medication. Over the counter or prescription anti-inflammatories and pain medication have a double role. They make you comfortable while you wait to recover and they minimize the local inflammation in the tissues of the ankle. Although inflammation is a response to injury and is meant to enable quicker healing, in fact it does the opposite and delays good health. Don’t hesitate to take anti-inflammatories exactly as the doctor prescribed them because they can make the difference between full and incomplete recovery.
Rest in the first few days
Allow your ankle time to rest and recover after the injury. Pressing it into yoga exercises too soon will only make things worse. Keep in mind that the best how to heal a sprained ankle fast tip is to let it heal slowly. Resting after injuries in soft tissues is paramount for healing, and pushing yourself can increase the recovery time. Trying to work out with pain can add up at least two weeks to your recovery.
If you don’t have flexible ice packs, now it’s time to ask your friends to help invest in some. Although advice on whether to ice the injury is conflicting, the purpose of ice is to reduce local inflammation. Definitely apply ice in the first 3 days for 20-minute periods and reapply as many times as needed when the ankle gets swollen again.
Keep it up
During the first 3 days, with the same purpose of preventing inflammation, it is best to keep your leg up. This prevents fluids building up in the ankle and pushing tissues apart. Although some pressure cannot damage tissues, too much fluids combined with the recent injury are a really, really bad thing. Think about it this way – this is the perfect time to sit in bed and read an awesome book or binge watch a show you never had time for. And keep your ankle up.
Local care of the injury
Treat the injury locally. You can get an aircast that protects the ankle from being hit or bent, wear compression socks, and apply local medication with anti-inflammatory properties. For example, arnica extract has great anti-inflammatory qualities and you can apply it a few times each day. However, don’t massage the tissues but instead rub the cream gently on your skin without applying much pressure.