A physio's perspective on managing acute ankle injuries...
When you are unluckly enough to severely hurt your ankle either playing sport, walking, or stepping awkwardly off a curb, its so important to do the right things in the earlier days to prevent long lasting effects.
Here, we give Mitch's account of what he did when he REALLY injured his ankle whilst playing soccer. While it may seem graphic, you or someone you know, may go through something similar so you need to know what ankle injuries can look like.
1. Leave the shoe you were wearing on to provide some compression until you get home or to medical attention.
2. Ice, Ice Baby!
a. Fill up a bucket of water and add ice
b. Ice the foot in the bucket for 20 mins, take it out for 10 mins, and go for another 20
c. The ice cold water encompasses the joint providing a cooling effect and stops the internal bleeding (swelling)
You'll never guess what is next...
a. I was pretty lucky to have some compression braces from the soccer team
b. After the night of ice, wear a compression brace / garment to bed
c. Make sure it fits over the area of swelling and is not too uncomfortable to wear
Sleep with your foot elevated with a pillow to help move the swelling into the bodies drainage system
a. Unfortunately, I did have to take the next day off but it was the best decision I made!
b. This allowed me to repeat the same process above for the entire day.
Having worked 6 hours today, I took my sock off and saw this! (above)
I managed to walk with a mild limp in running shoes today. Always make sure you can walk as soon as you can. You might need some more comfortable shoes though..
That afternoon, I repeated my process:
c. Light compression
d. Elevation when sleeping
Starting to look more like 'my foot'. Some discolouration but this is a good thing as it shows healing. Able to walk much easier now but the muscles and tendons of the foot feel tight.
- Continue to ice if the swelling is still present
- The swelling should subside after 2-4 days, depending of the extent of the injury
- Cease elevation and compression
- Seek physiotherapy treatment to remove residual swelling, reduce muscle tension, and commence a home based exercise program
- Keep as active as you keep to prevent residual tightness of the ankle structures
- Beware you have likely lost some strength of the ankle structures so you should not push physical activity
I hope you enjoyed my ankle journey and please reach out to us on Facebook if you have any questions!