First Aid for Foot and Ankle Sports Injuries
There are few heavier, sinking feelings than the one right after an acute sports injury. The stabbing pain that strikes instantly. The collapse to the ground. The dawning realization that your life might be about to get complicated for the next couple of weeks.
Despite the rush of emotions and sensations, keeping a cool head and practicing proper first aid after a foot or ankle injury is an important first step in a successful recovery. Caring for a fresh injury in the minutes or hours before you can obtain professional treatment, and in the days following, goes a long way toward limiting the damage and facilitating a relatively quick, complete recovery.
The first order of business is determining the severity of the injury. If the skin has been broken and you suspect (or can visually confirm) a broken bone, the first priority is to control the bleeding by applying direct, steady pressure using a clean cloth. Do not attempt to push a broken bone back into place, and remove any rings, anklets, or other jewelry—these can cause complications once the area is swollen. Have someone call 911 and get to the ER as quickly as possible.
If there’s no break in the skin, your best approach is to, again, remove any obstructions (jewelry, anklets, etc.) and follow the RICE method. This stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
- Rest—get off your feet right away. Don’t try to put any weight on the affected foot, and especially don’t try to go back onto the field.
- Ice—Use ice packs, a bag of ice, a frozen water bottle, etc. on the injury. If using a homemade “ice pack,” do not apply directly to skin, but cover with a towel or layer of fabric. Don’t ice for more than twenty minutes or so at a time, and wait another full half hour before applying again.
- Compression—If available, apply a compression wrap or elastic bandage around the area of the injury—tight, but not so tight it restricts circulation.
- Elevation—Put your feet up. If you can elevate above chest level, that’s ideal, but every bit helps.
Once your first aid is under control and any necessary emergency care is provided, your next course of action is to book an appointment with Family Foot Care of Jasper. Dr. Tim Barry and our team of foot and ankle specialists will help you get the prompt, effective care you need. Give us a call today at (812) 481-7200.