In-shape athletes work hard to keep their body healthy and to avoid serious injuries that could impact their competitive abilities. Unfortunately, even the strongest and most prepared athlete could suffer from a painful ankle sprain during a significant competition. Thankfully, high-quality urgent care providers can help minimize the potential impact of this sprain and keep an athlete active.
Sprains Occur in Many Athletic Situations
Just about any athlete can suffer from an ankle sprain during competition. This painful situation causes an athlete immediate suffering and takes them off of the field for several weeks. In addition, sprains may trigger long-term effects if not properly managed.
For example, athletes may experience stiffness in their ankle that makes running and jumping more difficult. Even worse, the ligaments in the ankle may lose some coordination and make athlete success more difficult. Thankfully, treatment methods minimize this risk.
Immediate Care Helps Minimize the Negative Impact
Immediately after a sprain, athletes need to get off the field and manage the injury as soon as possible. The best way to treat an ankle sprain after the immediate injury is a method known as RICE. This acronym stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation and is used by urgent care providers around the nation. The central tenets of this treatment method include:
- Rest – Avoid putting weight on the injured ankle by walking with crutches or stabilizing the area with a brace. Stay away from sports practice and competition to keep pressure off the ankle and to speed up the healing process.
- Ice – Place an ice pack on the sprain to minimize swelling. Keep it there for no more than 10- 20 minutes three or more times per day. Heat application may be necessary after about 48-72 hours. Always place a towel over the skin before applying cold and heat packs.
- Compression – Wrap up the ankle with an elastic bandage or brace to minimize the swelling and to help blood flow more effectively through the injured area. The dressing is too tight if tingling, pain, or numbness occurs in the sprained ankle. Loosen the bandage to avoid this complication.
- Elevation – Use a pillow or blankets to lift the ankle. Typically, you want to keep the area near or above heart level. This process is much easier done lying down, but with a little effort, you can do it while sitting.
In addition to following these steps, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever to ease pain. To reduce inflammation as well, take an NSAID like ibuprofen or naproxen.
Urgent Care Treatment Is Vital
Though athletes may manage some symptoms of ankle sprains on their own with RICE, urgent care centers provide immediate treatment that is more effective. For example, an urgent care specialist can examine the sprain, diagnose the severity of the injury, and provide an ankle brace to keep it correctly stabilized while the injured tendons and muscles recovery.
Just as importantly, urgent care professionals can help an individual avoid further complications with a sprained ankle. For example, these specialists can teach an athlete stretches that improve their mobility and minimize the risk of sprains in the future. In this way, an athlete can improve their ankle strength and avoid losing precious playing time to another sprain in the future.
Urgent Care Centers Are Available for Sprains
If you’re an athlete who has suffered from an ankle sprain or other non-emergency injury, call or visit us at Walking Urgent Care, Inc, to learn more about your care options. Our specialists will work hard to identify the source of the ankle sprain and will treat its symptoms beneficially and effectively.