Children and adults alike are at risk of injuries that can become worse if not properly treated. Foot injuries can happen in so many different ways: sports injuries, tripping, falling, slipping, sprains, blunt trauma, overuse, and even weakened bones. That’s why it’s important to properly treat the feet and ankles in the first few moments after the injury.
For most mild and moderate injuries, the best response is to use the RICE method:
- R = Rest. First, be sure to stop the activity that caused the injury. “Walking it off” and “shaking it off” could make things worse. For some, adrenaline can cover the extent of the pain in the injury, so continuing to use the foot or ankle can make things that much worse. “Rest” could mean anything from sitting out for the rest of the game to keeping weight off of it until you feel 100% better. Use a cane, crutches, and/or a boot to keep it immobilized.
- I = Ice. It’s likely that the area of the injury will be red and/or swollen after the injury. Applying ice or a cold compress will help to reduce redness and swelling, as well as dull down pain. As soon as you can, apply ice for 15-20 minutes at a time, with 15-20 minutes in between applications to be most effective. You can use the icing method for relief for about 2 days, but if swelling or pain does not subside, you may need medical treatment.
- C = Compression. If you have first aid bandages or a compression sock available, wearing that will help prevent excessive swelling and encourage fluids to circulate.
- E = Elevation. The recommendation is to keep your foot/ankle elevated above heart level whenever possible. This also helps to prevent excessive swelling and encourages good circulation. Since elevating above the heart level can be difficult, do your best to keep the feet elevated anytime you’re sitting.
Keep in mind that this is for minor injuries in which the pain is tolerable. Excruciating pain, excessive swelling, or worsening symptoms indicate that you need medical attention right away. Keep track of your symptoms and when in doubt, see a physician in case surgery is needed.
Do you have an injury or keep re-injuring the same location? We can help! Make an appointment with our podiatrists at The Podiatry Group. Our foot doctors, Dr. Mark E. Reiner, Dr. Michael A. Haughey, Dr. William G. Coates, and Dr. Erik D. Rosenlof can perform a thorough assessment at our Jonesboro, AR office to treat your feet and ankles to keep them strong.