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According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, about 25,000 people sprain their ankles every day. Ankle sprains occur when a ligament is stretched or torn; they are often caused when people play sports or do other rigorous physical activities. If you sprain your ankle, visit your doctor to diagnose the severity of the injury. You will need to ice, elevate and wrap your ankle in bandages to allow your ligaments to heal. It may take a few days or a few weeks before you can walk on your ankle again.
Ask your doctor if your ankle is strong enough to walk on. If your sprain is mild, your doctor may let you start walking a few days after your injury. If your sprain is more serious, your doctor may tell you to use crutches for a few weeks before you put weight on your ankle.
Put on a sock. Carefully slip a sock onto your foot. You may want to use a long sock that covers your ankle to provide a barrier between your skin and the ankle brace.
Slip on your ankle brace. Secure the brace around your ankle, following the instructions in its manual. The brace should fit snugly around your ankle, but make sure it isn't too tight because it may constrict your blood flow. Ankle braces are available from your doctor's office, a sporting goods store or online. (See Resources.)
Put on a sneaker. Sneakers and other athletic shoes will offer support and stability to your ankle that other shoes cannot. First, loosen the shoelaces on your sneaker to give your ankle brace enough room to slip inside. Second, gently place your foot into the shoe and tie your shoelaces.
Take it easy. Since your ankle is still healing, only walk short distances at a slow pace. If your ankle hurts when you put weight on it, you may need to use crutches until it heals more.
- Take ibuprofen to treat mild to medium amounts of pain. If the pain in your ankle is severe, do not put any weight on it and speak to your doctor.
- To prevent sprained ankles in the future, make sure to wear supportive shoes, to warm-up before you exercise and to exercise in places where the ground is even.
- Allow your ankle to fully heal before you tackle vigorous sports such as running, tennis, and basketball. If your ankle ligaments do not heal fully, you risk the chance of developing muscle weakness, instability and chronic pain.
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