Wrapping a sprained ankle is often the first form of treatment right after it is injured. When wrapping your ankle, it is important to use a proper wrapping technique and the right amount of compression to avoid problems with circulation.
Using an elastic bandage to provide compression for a sprained ankle can help provide comfort and support (and keep those cold packs in place!). Follow these steps to wrap your injured ankle correctly:
- Start wrapping below the ankle, looping down around your foot, and then up toward your calf
- Overlap as you wrap so the injured area is covered, and there are no gaps or wrinkles in the bandage
- Wrap firmly enough to provide support, but not so tight as to cut off circulation
- Leave toes exposed to allow for movement and circulation
- Secure the end of the bandage with sports tape or clips
Regular movement will cause the bandage to gap and loosen throughout the day, even if you’re keeping pressure off the injured ankle. Remove the bandage and rewrap as necessary several times a day, making sure to keep firm, gentle pressure on the joint. Unwrapping and rewrapping will allow you to keep an eye on the injury during the first day or two of treatment. Pay attention to increased swelling or redness, which can signal new or more serious problems like an infection or fracture. Any increase in pain or swelling, or any numbness or tingling in your foot or leg requires a doctor’s immediate attention.
When used correctly, an elastic bandage can provide just the right amount of compression after an injury. An elastic bandage doesn’t provide the support needed to prevent re-injury, however. To support your ankle in the long term, look for slip on stabilizers and supports to keep a constant amount of compression on the injured joint, and to help support weak ankles while you heal.
The most common forms of sports injuries are sprains and strains of muscles and tendons. A basic treatment for these types of injuries is called R.I.C.E. Therapy.
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Professional athletes and active adults alike need joint support for minor injuries or chronic conditions.