Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Does wrapping a sprained ankle help it heal faster?"
A friend who is an athletic trainer told me to wrap my sprained ankle in ACE bandage. Will this help it heal better and faster or will it just help with the pain?
As I am sure you are well aware of, a "sprain" happens when the mobility of the joint (in this case your ankle) is extended beyond the normal range of motion. There are ligaments that attach bone to bone at your joints, and tendons that cross joints to attach muscle to bone. Both of these (particularly the ligaments) function to stabilize joints. In the ankle they particularly protect against abnormal side-to-side or twisting movements. In fat most ankle sprains occur from stepping on uneven ground, or an explosive side-to-side motion resulting in excessive inversion and strain or tearing of the ligaments along the lateral aspect of the ankle. In an otherwise uncomplicated ankle sprain, conservative management is usually sufficient. This includes walking if able, passive range of motion exercises, icing 20 minutes on and 20-40 minutes off a few times a day, and over the counter anti-inflammatories (just be aware that overuse of these medications can cause kidney problems or stomach issues). A brace will provide support, and help to limit the extent of the swelling, permitting range of motion exercises while healing. In a way this help prevent further injury to promote healing, but it doesn't actually do anything to advance the reparative functions of your body. If you are unable to walk on your ankle, or if there is significant instability, I would recommend getting it evaluated by a physician (general practitioner or orthopedic surgeon) to make sure it isn't something more than a simple sprain.
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