Ankle injuries are the most commonly encountered sports injuries. Although most often seen in athletes and sports persons, ankle injuries can happen at any age, to anyone.
Common Ankle Injuries That Cause Swelling
The ankle is a weight bearing joint and is made up of ligaments, bones, muscles and tendons. Injury to any one of these components can cause different types of injuries. Ankle injuries can be categorized as strain, sprain or fracture.
Overusing or awkward twisting of the ankle can result in inflammation of the muscles and tendons and results in ankle strain.
A ligament injury is called a sprain. Ligaments are bands of tissue that connect two bones, and hold a joint together. Sprains can occur when the joint is suddenly twisted under the leg. Fractures cause swelling as well and occur when the bones in the joint crack or break. The bones that make up the forefoot and the heel are the calcaneus and talus, while the leg bones are called tibia and fibula.
First Aid for Ankle Injuries
With any type of ankle injury, the first line of treatment is always the PRICE which stands for Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
PRICE involves the following:
Protect Protection of the ankle joint by wearing support or sleeve will help avoid further injury to the already inflamed joint.
Rest It is important to rest the ankle for 48 to 72 hours following an injury.
Ice Ice has to be applied as soon as possible following an ankle injury for the duration of 30 minutes, every two hours throughout the day.
Compression Special bandages and compression sleeves can help in reducing swelling and speed up healing.
Elevation The foot should be placed above or at least to the hip level to help encourage blood flow back from the legs to the heart, and limit swelling.
Benefits Of Ankle Compression Sleeve
Whenever there is an ankle injury, blood tends to pool up in the site of the injury, resulting in clots and inflammation. The blood flow back to the heart has to be encouraged to allow for faster healing and smooth circulation. Ankle compression sleeves work by encouraging backward flow of venous blood to the heart. The sleeve is designed to put a higher amount of compression or pressure at the foot and ankle, than the upper parts of the leg.
Studies show that compression sleeves help in dilating or expanding the arteries, and increase the blood flow in the site of the injury. Compression sleeves also help in stabilizing the muscles in the joint.
How To Choose The Right Ankle Compression Sleeve
Choosing the right ankle compression sleeve is a decision that can be made depending on the type and extent of injury, activity, medical condition and so on.
If you have a mild injury, you could go for a low profile compression sleeve that can help stabilize the ankle with graduating levels of mild to moderate compression.
If you suffer from heel pain and conditions like plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis, an arch and heel support sleeve would be the best option. Specialized arch and heel support sleeves deliver pulsating compression to protect the heel with every step.
Ankle sleeves are also available in a wide range of materials including latex free for those with latex allergy. If you have an allergy to neoprene and latex, you could choose sleeves made from 100% breathable cotton. The breathable cotton is also ideal for warm and humid climates where the tendency to sweat is higher.