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Is an ankle sprain a serious injury?

One third of adults will sprain an ankle during their lifetime. In fact, each day in the US, 25,000 individuals suffer a sprain. Certainly if you are older, balance challenges put you at higher risk. As we gain weight, we place increasing stress on ankles, another risk factor for an ankle sprain. And weekend exercisers or as they’re called, weekend warriors, are also at high risk for a sprain. 

A sprain occurs when you twist or roll your ankle beyond its normal range of motion. If you do sustain a sprain, consult with a doctor so that the level of sprain is determined.  With less severe sprains, you may be allowed to continue light physical activity. You can use a temporary cane if you feel unsteady as you nurse your sprained ankle. Icing the affected area, ten minutes on and ten minutes off, every 2 hours during the first day, can help to limit swelling and pain. Continue to ice with less frequency for the next several days, especially if you are mobile.

You can also buy over-the-counter ace support. Just make sure it’s not too tight, especially if swelling is still present. Over-the-counter pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications can help as well, just follow directions carefully. Make sure these medications do not interfere with any current prescriptions you are taking. A doctor can determine if you do need more potent anti-inflammatory medications. 

Sprains are not innocuous injuries. They do need appropriate medical attention, so you avoid the risk of a chronic injury that interferes with your quality of life, or that limits your ability to exercise. Take a sprain seriously and do get a follow up evaluation just to make sure healing is complete.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.