After being in the personal injury law field as long as I have, I’ve seen my share of injuries across the board. One of the most common injuries, however, is highly underrated in terms of medical attention and severity.
If you’ve ever experienced a sprained ankle, you at one point likely tried to just “walk it off.” This treatment—or denial—could actually have lasting affects that extend far beyond the predicted healing timeframe.
A recent article from The New York Times discussed why trying to ignore an ankle sprain, or treat it in the traditional manner, can actually have debilitating affects on the long-term health of your ankles.
According to the piece, an estimated 28,000 ankle injuries occur every day in America. Most of these are sports-related injuries, but many are the result of people just going about their everyday lives—stepping on uneven surfaces or objects lying around, or even walking in faulty shoes.
If you fail to treat, or mistreat, your ankle sprain, you could have discomfort for a long time, a heightened risk of re-injury, or even a chronic disability and early arthritis.
Unfortunately, medical professionals have not completely nailed down a surefire treatment for ankle sprains. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation are the most commonly prescribed and accepted treatments, but these tactics have yet to be proven effective in controlled clinical trials.
Also, don’t reach immediately for an anti-inflammatory drug (ibuprofen, naproxen, etc.). It’s actually much more beneficial to address the pain first with acetaminophen.
Wait at least 48 hours before you take any anti-inflammatory medicine. You want your body to begin healing by allowing the inflammatory process to kick in. After that time, you can take anti-inflammatories to keep the swelling down.
So what can you do for an ankle sprain?
The first step is getting the injury diagnosed. Once the injury has been identified, the necessary therapy can be prescribed. Today’s most effective techniques involve “functional rehabilitation,” which includes controlled exercises and balance training.
Immediately after the injury, the rest, ice, compression, and elevation practice can and should be implemented; even if there aren’t actually clinical results showing effectiveness, this technique shouldn’t hurt the injury more, and the cold can help numb some of the pain.
The main thing to pull from The New York Times article is that ankle sprains, like many personal injuries, should not be overlooked. If you have suffered an ankle sprain, or any other injury due to the negligence of another, be sure to contact an experienced personal injury attorney.