A sprained ankle is a rather common injury, but, in most cases, it is hard to tell for sure if the ankle is actually broken or if the person has only sustained a rather nasty case of sprain without proper medical examination. Since the symptoms of a sprained ankle are pretty much the same as that of a sprain, which include extreme pain, swelling of the injured area, bruising and the inability of the person to put any pressure on the affected leg, they are of little use. However, if the skin is torn and the bone is clearly visible, then it is an obvious case of a sprained ankle. In order to play it safe, the injury is treated as a sprained ankle till proved otherwise by diagnosis and an X-ray scan.
It is impossible to treat a sprained ankle without a certified medical professional and the necessary equipment, but you can ensure that the person is given the necessary first aid so as to check the injury from being aggravated. Call for an ambulance immediately if other means of transportation is unavailable to you (it is faster and more reliable anyway) and put the person out of harm’s way till help arrives. It is crucial that the person is kept comfortable and off his feet so that he doesn’t exert undue stress on the injury.
The following measures need to be followed in order to provide first aid to the person.
- The person must be made to sit somewhere in such a way that there is no pressure applied on the wounded leg.
- As always in a medical emergency, check his essentials signs, that is, that he is fully conscious, and there is nothing hindering proper breathing.
- Make sure he is not injured in any other way nor is suffering a concussion.
- If an ambulance is on the way, it is best to apply an ice pack to the bruised area provided there is no bleeding or cut skin.
- If there is no immediate medical help available, proceed to provide a makeshift splint for the person with any sturdy material available. Do not make the splint too tight and ensure that there is proper circulation of blood.
- Check if the person has the ability to feel and move the toes on the affect foot. This can be done by asking him to wriggle his toes.
- Once the splint is in place, apply ice to the area for fifteen minutes and then remove it for the next fifteen.
- It is important that the person is made to feel safe and does not panic under any circumstance, so keep reassuring him while waiting for aid.
- Try to keep the environment and equipment used as sterile as possible to avoid infections or further complications and follow the universal protocols for personal safety when dealing with any bodily fluids.
It is also essential that you keep a level head and do not try to make the person move about. Also keep in mind that a person who has sustained serious injuries to the head or neck or vertebral column must not be moved under any circumstance unless it is to help the rescuers secure him.