A sprained ankle can be painful and can make it difficult to get around. You may be able to wrap a sprained ankle yourself and prevent complications. Here are some tips on how to treat an ankle injury.
When and How to Wrap a Sprained Ankle
Swelling and bruising are common after a sprain. Wrapping a sprained ankle can compress the area and reduce swelling and inflammation so the injury can heal. It’s important to wrap an ankle soon after the injury occurs because waiting can slow the healing process.
Choose an appropriate elastic medical wrap. Ankle wraps are usually three or four inches wide. A wider wrap will provide more compression than a narrower one.
Wrap around the injured ankle in a figure 8 pattern, starting at the end farthest from the heart. As you add each layer of wrapping, overlap it with the previous layer. The wrap should be tight enough to compress the injured ankle, but not so tight that it blocks blood flow. It should extend both above and below the ankle to stabilize the joint. Once you have finished wrapping the ankle, use fasteners to hold the bandage in place.
You should only keep a sprained ankle wrapped for the first 24 to 48 hours. After that, it should be left unwrapped so the area can get enough blood flow to heal.
Other Ways to Treat a Sprained Ankle
Use a multi-pronged approach to help a sprained ankle heal. Avoid putting weight on the ankle if that causes pain or swelling.
Apply an ice pack to the sprained ankle before you wrap it. You can also use an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes every two to three hours after you remove the bandage. If the injured person has vascular disease, diabetes, or a decrease in feeling in the ankle, consult a doctor before applying ice.
Elevate the ankle above the heart so gravity can drain excess fluid. That can help prevent swelling. Keeping the ankle elevated is particularly important at night.
An over-the-counter pain reliever can be taken, if necessary. The injured person may need to use crutches to get around for a while.
If the ankle does not seem to be getting better, you may have underestimated the seriousness of the injury. A doctor can order one or more imaging tests to find out if there is actually a broken bone or another form of serious damage to the joint.
Make Sure You’re Prepared to Treat Common Injuries
1st Aid Supplies has a wide range of medical supplies that can help you treat injuries that may happen at home or when participating in outdoor activities. Order supplies to stock your first aid cabinet so you will be ready to deal with an injury at a moment’s notice.