One of the most common complaints among track and field athletes and enthusiasts is foot sprain. Even seasoned athletes can suffer from this condition. Depending on the severity of the sprained foot, movement involving the use of feet can be difficult and painful, forcing some runners to leave the track temporarily until fully recovered.
Sprains are injuries that result from the tearing or stretching of the ligaments which connect the bones, or of the joint capsules which are responsible for providing stability in the joint. Sprains usually occur after a direct or indirect trauma that caused the joint to fall out of its position. In the track, it normally occurs when running on an uneven surface. Its symptoms may include pain, inflammation and difficulty or inability to move the affected limb.
Just like tingling feet and strains, most cases of foot sprains and sprains affecting other parts of the body can be managed and treated at home.
Management and Home Care for Sprains
Managing sprain at home can be done by observing the PRICE method:
P – Protect the affected joint from further injury by using a support or by wearing appropriate shoes that can give your feet better support.
R – Rest from any physical activity especially from the one that caused the sprain for the next 48 to 72 hours following the injury.
I – Apply an Ice pack on the affected area three to four times daily at 15 minutes each time for the next three days after the injury.
C – Compress the injured joint to reduce swelling and to prevent any movement that could worsen the condition. An elasticated tubular bandage or ordinary elastic bandage can be used to snuggly wrap around the joint area, making sure it is not too tight to allow blood flow. The bandage should be removed before going to sleep.
E – Elevate the sprained area, if possible, to reduce swelling.
Aside from observing the PRICE therapy, affected individuals should also avoid HARM during the first 72 hours after suffering from a sprain.
H – Heat such as heat packs, saunas and hot baths
A – Alcoholic beverages which slow down healing and increase swelling and bleeding
R – Running and other forms of exercises which may cause further damage
M – Massage which increases swelling and bleeding
The recovery period for sprains largely depends on its severity. Joint movement without pain may already be possible several days after home care. However, full use of the affected area may not be possible until after six to eight weeks. For athletes, getting back to normal sporting activities may be possible after about eight to 12 weeks. In severe cases, some patients may still suffer from continued problems such as intermittent swelling or pain for many months or even years after suffering from the sprain.
When home management and treatment for sprains do not result to any improvement, but instead is making the symptoms worse, you should seek medical attention immediately.