Twisted ankle: First aid in emergencies
Whether it’s at work, during leisure activities or playing sports, it takes just a second to twist an ankle. What can you do on your own, and when do you need to see a doctor?
How does a twisted ankle occur?
A twisted ankle is usually due to an accidental misstep while playing sports or other leisure activities. The ankle is often injured when the foot is turned inward or outward. The twisting can result in bruises, sprains and ruptured ligaments or even fractures.
What to do when someone twists their ankle?
It is important to react properly after a twisted ankle. The RICE procedure involves doing four things right away to alleviate the pain and reduce swelling:
If a person has twisted their ankle, they should not place any additional stress on it.
Apply cold to the affected spot as soon as possible. To avoid freezing the skin, ice should not be applied directly to the skin. A bag filled with ice water and wrapped in cloth is ideal. Cold water or cold wet towels are a good alternative.
After sufficient cooling, a compress must be applied, wrapping an elastic band around the ankle and toes. Then continue applying cold from the outside.
Keeping the foot elevated also helps to minimise additional swelling.
When should the person see a doctor after suffering a twisted ankle?
In many cases, twisted ankle injuries heal on their own, assuming that the person lets the affected body part rest for several days. However, if the person has any of the following symptoms, they should see their family doctor:
- The area is severely swollen or bruised.
- The person notices a cracking or tearing.
- The ankle is unstable after the twisting injury.
- They experience severe pain at rest or when walking.