Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
Twisted (Ankle)
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

If You Do the Twist...

Without proper care, a sprained ankle can become a chronic injury.

Just about everyone has twisted an ankle at one time or another; ankle sprains are the most common athletic injury. However, if they're not treated right away and completely rehabilitated before you return to action, they can become a chronic problem.

The ankle is a complicated hinge joint composed of four bones and four major ligaments. The bones are connected by the ligaments, fibrous tissue that gives the joint stability. The ligaments will tear if their range of movement is exceeded. A sprain can range from mild to severe, resulting in equivalent amounts of instability in the ankle.

The most common ankle sprain is an inward twist, with the foot turning underneath the ankle. The three lateral ligaments of the ankle may be so severely torn that you're unable to bear any weight on the injury. Or the sprain might be so mild you can "walk it off" and continue your activity.

In either case, proper treatment and rehabilitation are essential to prevent a chronic problem from developing. The initial treatment for all sprains is RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Rest Rest the injured ankle, avoiding any activity that causes further pain. Meanwhile, you can maintain conditioning with activities that won't stress the joint, such as riding a stationary bicycle, using a rowing machine or swimming with leg floats.

Ice Apply ice as soon as possible. Ice decreases pain immediately by numbing the skin and reduces swelling by constricting blood vessels. Much of the pain from an injury is caused by swelling from torn blood vessels. Controlling the swelling helps you make a speedier recovery.

It's best to use crushed ice in a watertight bag covered with a thin cloth so it's not too cold against the skin. Apply it for 15 minutes directly over the area of swelling. Longer applications may cause a rebound dilation of the blood vessels and may actually increase swelling.

Apply the ice every four to eight hours as long as the swelling continues (even as long as a week). You can use chemical ice packs, but many experts warn that because they do not melt the same way as ice, they can overcool the ankle and cause a chemical freeze to the skin.

Next: Compression

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

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The information in this web site is for educational purposes only and is not providing medical or professional advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have or suspect you might have any health problems, you should consult a physician.

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