When you first injure your foot or ankle many thoughts are going through your head: Is something broken? Do I need to go to the emergency room? Ouch—I’m in a lot of pain! At North Jersey Podiatry, we want to help patients take care of injuries in the best way possible to minimize pain and discomfort and facilitate the healing process. In the case of a severe injury, it may be immediately apparent that emergency medical care is needed. The first step is to have your injury evaluated either on the field or by an athletic trainer or doctor to determine the course of action. There are, however, some steps you can take until you can be seen by a medical professional and start treatment that will be helpful. These are best known by the acronym RICE.
RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Here’s how to implement this regimen:
Rest—Once you’ve injured your foot or ankle the best approach is to get off of it. Many patients mistakenly believe that because they can walk on their affected foot it is not badly damaged. This is not true and in fact, can worsen the injury and even go on to cause a second one!
Ice—Applying ice to the injured part of your foot or ankle will help lessen the pain and decrease the inflammation. Do not put ice directly on your skin. Wrap ice or an ice pack in a thin towel and apply for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. You can do this 3 or more times a day with breaks in between.
Compression—Wrap the sore area with an elastic bandage to reduce swelling and discomfort. Be careful not to make the wrap too tight. Signs of that would include:
- Numbness or tingling
- Coolness or swelling below the bandage
- Increased pain
Elevation—By keeping the injured foot elevated on pillows at or above the level your heart will allow the excess fluid to be reabsorbed into your body. This will cut down on the swelling.
Do not delay in getting a foot or ankle injury treated. Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, will want to assess the type and full extent of your injury and start you on rehabilitation as soon as possible. This will give you the best chance of a fast and full recovery. Contact our Wayne office for an appointment by calling: (973) 595-1555.