A sprained or broken ankle can slow down and even halt your physical training. Your ankles take a beating as they are a major pivot point between your legs and your feet. They're especially important in sports where you need to make quick stops and turns. Even if you're not playing sports, it's easy to sprain your ankle. You can sprain it simply while walking down the street, sliding on a pebble or walking on uneven ground. Here are some things you can do if you sprain your ankle as well as some ways to prevent injury.

Symptoms of a sprain:

If you've twisted your ankle, then it's likely you have sprained it, at least temporarily. Twisting and spraining usually involves stretching, and possibly tearing, your ligaments in that area. Generally, it will hurt if you try to put weight on it or try to walk. You may also see swelling and bruising. After some time, the area will seem stiff and tender to the touch.

First aid for sprains:

If you have a sprain, you should apply the "RICE" method. That is, you should rest your foot, use ice to reduce the swelling, apply compression and elevate the injured area. When using compression, make sure you don't wrap your ankle too tightly as you might cut off circulation. Use pillows to elevate your feet slightly. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medicine can help reduce the swelling. If you suspect your ankle may be broken, then you will need to see your doctor immediately.

Preventing sprains:

One of the best ways to reduce your chance of getting a sprain is to do exercises which help strengthen the ligaments around the ankles. You can use balance and strength training to strengthen the supporting muscles. Stretching and flexibility training in this area will also reduce your chance of injury. Taping your ankle while working out may help some people by providing extra support and stability, but some people may feel that it restricts their flexibility. Be sure to properly train for any sport you may be involved in.

Contacting an orthopedic surgeon:

Most mild sprains will go away for most people in a few days with adequate rest. However, if you find that the pain has gotten worse over time or the swelling either gets larger or does not subside, then you will need to see an someone specialized in orthopedics. You should also see a doctor if the area gets discolored or looks infected. If you have chronic or long-term ankle problems, then you may need further rehabilitation. If it's found that arthritis is causing a problem, then get a consultation to see if surgery is an option so that you can walk again without pain.

For more information, contact a company like Tedder Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Center.