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11 February 2009

Your ankles

The ankle is a mechanical miracle. It is flexible and resilient, serves as a foundation and propels you forward. But ankles can also become swollen, strained or sprained.

The ankle is in many ways a mechanical miracle. It is flexible and resilient, is a good shock absorber, serves as a foundation and propels you forward. It carries the weight of the entire body. It can sustain huge pressure, while providing the body with mobility, balance and support.

If you want to see how important a role your ankle plays in your life, see the effect it has when you fracture or strain it. And this happens to many people – ankle fractures, strains and sprains are of the most common injuries treated by orthopaedic doctors.

easing your oedema, or swelling, as it is more generally referred to.

  • Rest for the injured part of the body. Use crutches if the leg, foot or ankle is injured. Support an injured wrist, arm or shoulder with a sling. An injured finger can be rested by taping it to the healthy finger next to it (the same applies to toes). A broken leg can be tied to the other leg.
  • Ice packs or cold compresses applied for 20 minutes a time every few hours in the first two to three days to lessen the swelling and reduce pain.
  • Compression bandages for at least two days, also to reduce swelling. Don't wrap the injured area too tightly – loosen the bandage if the area feels cool or numb or if it tingles.
  • Elevation of the injured area above the level of the heart as much as possible. This also reduces swelling and bleeding.

 
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