Winter sports are winding down – did your teen make the playoffs? Last month we covered how to prevent ankle sprains.
But in high-impact sports like basketball and wrestling, ankle sprains sometimes happen even when you take every proper safety precaution. Your teen goes up for a shot and rolls their ankle awkwardly when they accidently land on someone else’s on the way down. Or they drive to the hoop and have a big collision with another player.
Accidents happen. And hopefully your teen didn’t break their ankle.
If they just sprained it, here’s what to do to make sure they recover as fast as possible and get back on the floor again:
R.I.C.E works like this:
Rest your ankle by not walking on it. Use crutches if you have to. You can put some weight on your leg if you haven’t fractured it. An ankle brace can keep the swelling under control and prevent further damage.
Ice. Now isn’t the time for your teen to play the hero and proudly refuse any assistance or treatment. Ice keeps down the swelling and gets them back to a healthy condition sooner. You should have them ice their ankle about 20 minutes at a time at most.
Compression. You can get compression sleeves for ankles online. They’re quite affordable. They help keep the swelling down and immobilize your ankle to prevent further injury.
Elevate. When resting their ankle, your teen should have it elevated above their waist or heart.
With Grade II sprains, there is a chance you won’t need to see a doctor. They may want you to immobilize your ankle or use a splint on it. Otherwise, it simply requires maybe a week or two of rest, which is longer than a Grade I sprain (that requires just a few days of rest at most).
With a Grade III sprain, your teen’s ankle may be at risk for permanent instability. Your doctor may want to use a cast for 2-3 weeks, or a boot to protect your teen’s ankle. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary.
If your teen repeatedly sprains the same ankle, the need for surgery becomes more likely.
That’s the basics of caring for a sprained ankle.
Wishing you a fast recovery!