Ankle sprains are common, painful injuries that can keep you out of the game for days, weeks, even a month or more. The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) estimates that every day, 25,000 people suffer an ankle sprain. Of course, these accidental injuries are not always associated with playing or practicing a sport. You may have been injured when you tripped over your pet, or missed the last step on your way out the door. Ankle sprains are all too familiar to athletes, and you’re most at risk if you play field hockey! Volleyball, football, and basketball players are also at higher risk, but anyone who competes – cheerleaders included – is a candidate for an ankle sprain.
According to the AOFAS, sprains are classified as Grade I, II, or III, depending on the amount of ligament damage sustained. Your doctor or trainer will want to check your ankle to ensure that you haven’t suffered any broken bones, and will recommend the appropriate course of treatment.
Most at-home care includes the RICE regimen, a combination of rest, ice, compression, and elevation to aid healing. More serious sprains require more serious treatment, however, and if your sprain is severe, your doctor may recommend additional ankle support to help you heal. Severe sprains may even require a cast or a walking boot that can be removed at night
Ankle braces provide varying levels of support, stability, and comfort. According to Podiatry Today, there are five different types of ankle braces that your doctor or trainer may consider, depending on the severity of your injury.
No matter how much you want to keep going, early, appropriate aftercare can help guard against long-term problems with ankle stability. Have your sprained ankle assessed by a trainer or medical professional, and follow their treatment recommendations to the letter to regain stability and strength in your ankle joint.