Rehab sprains with RICE

Rehab sprains with RICE

ISHPEMING — It’s no secret that the U.P. has many different trails and locations with scenic backdrops for different outdoor activities. But what happens in the middle of a hike when the member of the group twists an ankle? Here’s more on what to do…

Minor sprains may seem like no big deal, but they could take weeks to recover from if they’re not treated properly. According to an athletic trainer, sprain’s are slight tears in the tissues that connect the bones – called ligaments. There are a couple different tell–tale signs that an ankle might be sprained.

Certified Athletic trainer, Scott Corkin says, “A sprain, you’ll have swelling, pain, discoloration. There’s three grades of sprains: grade–one, grade–two and grade–three.”

Most of the time he says you can treat a grade–one sprain at home, and may have to go see a doctor at grade two or three. For grade–one sprains the goal is get the swelling and bruising down.

To do that the best way to treat it is to remember the acronym RICE, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. If you are in the middle of an activity, stop and go somewhere to rest the sprain for it to get better and not worse.

Next, ice it.

“There’s a few different ways you can ice,” Corkin added, “either use a regular ice bag, a cold pack out of the freezer, or what else works really well is like a frozen bag of peas, frozen bag of corn.”

You can put ice right in a Ziploc bag and apply it right to the skin, if you use an ice pack or something similar, wrap a paper towel around it first. Go ahead and leave the raw steak in the freezer though, that way you won’t risk leaving any gross bacteria behind.

Next step is compression to give the sprain support. You can use an ace bandage from any store, and make sure the foot is flexed when you wrap it.

Finally, elevate it.

“When you elevate it,” Corkin says, “it doesn’t mean just sitting on the couch with your leg up. You need to get your ankle above the level of your heart.”

When it starts to feel better don’t forget to exercise it, use a Thera-Band to work on range of motion and strengthening. Following these tips will help get you back on the trail in no time.

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