As someone who took six months to heal from a bad ankle sprain that happened six weeks after giving birth, I now know that sprains are no casual injury. Ever since my sprain, I’ve wanted to know more about how to decide when to see the doctor (Hint: Waiting six months is a bit too long) and what physical therapists can do for such an injury. Here’s what our experts had to say.

How to deal with ankle sprains

with advice from Kate Chewning, PT, DPT,
Maria Fermoile, PT, DPT, OCS
and Tenille Policastro, PT, DPT

Ankle sprains are a common injury. They can occur during strenuous activity, like playing a sport, or something as simple as missing a step down from a curb.

If you’ve injured your ankle, Kate Chewning, a physical therapist at Allegheny Chesapeake Physical Therapy (a Physiquality member in Pennsylvania) reminds you to R.I.C.E.:

  • Rest. Kate recommends trying to stay off your feet. She says, “Don’t walk or put too much weight on your affected ankle, as this will only increase the stress to your ligaments,” increasing the time it will take to heal.

  • Ice. Application of an ice bag, cold gel pack, or similar item will aid in decreasing inflammation while also helping with pain relief. Kate advises making your own ice massager by freezing water in a paper cup. Simply tear back the edges of the cup to apply the ice to the skin in a circular motion.

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