Ankle injuries are debilitating. Depending on the severity, an ankle injury can keep you off your feet and out of work for days, and even weeks. The ankle joint is one that is prone to injury, due to its amount of use and range of motion.

In order to recover from an ankle injury, you’ll need to provide the appropriate care, physical medicine and rehabilitation work. Doing so will speed up the recovery process and end prevent future injuries.

How the Ankle Gets Hurt

Joints that are highly mobile, like the shoulders, hips, and ankles are more susceptible to injury. The more mobility a joint has, the less inherent stability there is. This makes it more likely that you will experience some injury to these areas.

Ankle injuries result from quick changes in movement. Sports such as soccer and basketball are common activities that can lead to ankle injuries.

The ligaments that surround the joint can be stretched or torn. This can occur on either side of the joint, depending on the direction of the movement.

Recovery from an ankle injury can be a long process. For many, crutches are required to allow for mobility.

Following are 4 steps to long-term recovery from an ankle injury:

1. Ice – In the acute stage of injury, you can use ice to help reduce swelling. This can be applied until about 72 hours after injury has occurred.

Applying it for approximately 20 minutes throughout the day can help begin the healing process in the tissues. Anti-inflammatories such as Advil can also be helpful, along with Tylenol to help reduce any pain.

2. Elevate – Keeping your ankle elevated for a few hours each day will also minimize bruising and swelling. Compression wraps are also effective at this stage.

3. Support – Providing the proper support through a brace or using taping will help protect the ankle as you rehabilitate it slowly. Once you are walking, using footwear that provides support can help progress you towards more activity.

4. Rehabilitate – The best tool for recovering from an ankle injury is proper rehabilitation through mobility, exercise and treatment from a healthcare practicioner like Mod Pod Podiatry. Many people overlook this, and continue with injuries that have not fully healed.

The ankles can remain unstable over time and lead to pain issues. This can alter the movements of the joint and lead to more serious problems down the line, including an increased likelihood of recurring injury.

Once you are able to put full weight on your ankle, you can begin using a combination of stabilization and flexibility exercises to create and maintain a balance within the ankle. This will ensure that you return to normal function, while establishing strength to support future activity.