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Martin Foot & Ankle

Treating Sprained Ankles the Right Way

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Running with other enthusiasts can make a big difference for your own motivation and improvement. Some people get their own friends together, while others join groups like the Lancaster Road Runners Club to meet new people. Hitting the trail with others also helps if you sprain your ankle while running. Partners can get you the first aid you need—which is important, since properly treating sprained ankles can make a significant difference for your recovery.

Knowing basic first aid helps you manage an injury before you get to a doctor. So when you sprain your ankle, do you ice or heat it? Each does something different, so using the right one is important. Ice contracts your blood vessels and other tissues, restricting leaking fluids that cause swelling after a sprain. Heat, on the other hand, opens up your blood vessels, increasing circulation to your tissues. This can worsen the swelling around the joint, making it more difficult for your tissues to begin recovering.

When you first injure your ankle, promptly treating the problem with ice helps prevent the painful edema that can actually slow down your recovery. It allows your tissues to begin healing right away, since they aren’t filled with fluid or quite as inflamed as they could be. Make an ice pack and hold it to your injury for 15-20 minutes at a time, multiple times a day, for a few days following the accident.

Heat becomes beneficial if the injury doesn’t heal well. After the initial damage is managed, your tissues need to repair themselves. Persistent pain means the injury isn’t recovering. The increased blood flow that heat encourages brings much-needed nutrients and growth factors to heal the sprain.

Treating sprained ankles the right way is important to be able to recover well and get back into your activities. If you’re concerned about an injury, or find your discomfort isn’t improving, let our team at Martin Foot and Ankle examine your injury. You can reach our Hanover, Lancaster, Lititz and York,  PA, offices by submitting a request online or calling (717) 757-3537.

Photo credit: Idea go via freedigitalphotos.net

Dr. Michael B. Younes
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