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Ankle sprains can occur during activities, such as when running or wearing high heels. This condition often causes unbearable pain. To overcome this, there are several first aid steps you can take
Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments or connective tissue in the joints of the feet are injured. Ligaments themselves function to maintain joint stability and prevent excessive movement.
The position of the foot that changes or twists suddenly can cause the ligaments to stretch too far or even tear. Placing your foot at the wrong angle or using too much force to perform certain movements can also cause ligament injuries.
Grades of Sprained Legs
The severity of ankle sprains is divided into three, namely mild, moderate, and severe. Here is the explanation:
A mild ankle sprain is characterized by pain and slight swelling. This condition indicates that the ligament is stretched, but not torn.
In a moderate degree, some of the ligaments of the ankle are torn, causing prolonged pain and swelling. The skin around the ankles will also appear bruised due to bleeding under the skin.
If you have a severe sprain, you will feel excruciating pain along with swelling and bruising. This is because the ligaments in your ankle have been completely torn. In fact, in severe sprains, the legs are no longer able to support the body's weight.
First Aid for Foot Sprain
Ankle sprains in mild to moderate degrees will heal on their own. In order to speed up healing, there are several things you can do, namely:
1. Rest the ankle joint
Try to rest your foot for 2-3 days after the sprain. While resting, you can still do physical activity, but don't overdo it. It is also recommended not to run or jump until you can walk without pain in your feet.
To keep your body he althy, you can exercise by training other body muscles, such as arm muscles. You can also walk using crutches or leg braces and avoid walking with sprained feet.
2. Sprained ankle bandage
To prevent the injury from continuing, you can wrap the sprained ankle with an elastic bandage for 48–72 hours. This aims to relieve swelling and help the joints rest.
Don't wrap your ankles too tightly as this can restrict blood flow to your feet. If your toes are discolored, tingling, or numb, remove the bandage immediately.
3. Compress the sprained leg with ice water
Cold compresses aim to reduce pain and swelling in sprained legs. Apply compresses for 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day for the first 72 hours.
If you use ice cubes, avoid applying the ice directly to the skin. Also avoid using cold compresses if you have blood vessel disorders or have diabetes.
4. Lift your ankles higher than your chest when lying down
Elevating the sprained leg higher than the chest or hip can reduce swelling and bruising. You can use pillows to support your feet when lying on the bed or sofa.
The position of the feet that are higher than the chest makes it easier for the body to drain excess fluid from sprained ankles.
5. Avoid things that can aggravate swelling
At least 3 days after the sprain, you are advised not to take hot baths and saunas, drink alcohol, run, or massage your sprained ankle.
This is because some of these things are known to cause bleeding, exacerbate swelling, hinder the healing process, and cause further damage.
If the pain in the sprained ankle feels quite severe, you can take painkillers, such as paracetamol. You can also do stretching exercises recommended by your doctor.
Although a mild sprain will heal on its own, you are advised to consult a doctor if the pain does not heal within 3 days, especially if the pain or swelling is getting worse, there are open sores, signs of infection appear, or you can't stand at all.