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Slow (?) recovery from sprained ankle.

(21 Posts)
PernillaVanilla Mon 05-Aug-19 10:17:31

Nearly 3 weeks ago I put my right food down on a slippery floor at the bottom of some stairs. My right foot rolled under on itself and I had quite a lot of pain, mainly on the right side top of my food and under the knobbly bit. Nearly 3 weeks on and it hurt just as much as it did on day 1, some days. other days it is improving. I'm walking with a limp on that side.

After a week and no sign of improvement I went to the MIU for advice and an X ray. The X ray showed it was not broken and the advice was to elevate it, rest and it would get better in time, though a sprain could be as painful as a fracture and it might take some week.

if I rest it completely my achilles tendons seem very painful and the rest of me (used to exercise) aches all over too. I have tried some water exercise classes but I'm not sure they are good for it as there is some jumping up and down in the water and "running" down the pool. Today I've got up almost totally seized up all over, knees hurt, achilles tendons painful, both feet stiff and hobbled my way to work. I'm 62, if that is relevant.

What should I be doing at the moment? gentle exercise or rest? How long will it take. I normally have no aches and pains at all so all this is really trying my patience and i just want to give it the best chance to get better. I'm not getting much sympathy now as it is "only" a sprain, all advice very much appreciated.

henetha Mon 05-Aug-19 10:23:38

I do sympathise. Sprains certainly are very painful. Are you taking pain relief tablets for it? It's more difficult when it's an ankle and therefore makes walking difficult. I sprained my wrist about three years ago and it's never completely recovered.
I imagine you will get better help from other GNs on here,
but I just wanted to send my sympathy.

Luckygirl Mon 05-Aug-19 10:26:59

Sprains can take ages to heal and are very painful. Could you try using a crutch or stick to keep the weight off it a bit?

Sussexborn Mon 05-Aug-19 10:35:20

Soft tissue sprains can take as long as bones to heal. Try applying hot then cold clothes to the area and elevate your foot whenever possible.

SueDonim Mon 05-Aug-19 11:17:02

Sprains can be incredibly painful and take ages to heal. I had a few in the 70's when my vanity led me to insist on wearing platform shoes. blush

Elevate your foot so it is higher than your bottom. Take ibuprofen regularly, if you can tolerate it, and there's no harm to be done by taking arnica tablets and/or arnica cream.

I think in your situation, though, I might visit my GP who could prescribe better painkillers.

fizzers Mon 05-Aug-19 11:22:20

I had a bad sprain several years ago, I was literally bruised from knee to toe. Xrays revealed nothing broken. I had torn some ligaments and I can honestly say it took weeks and weeks to heal.

I also had physio sessions and daily exercises and a support bandage. Might be worth seeking out the advice of a physio

EllanVannin Mon 05-Aug-19 11:36:59

You can expect 6 weeks before a sprained ankle gets back to near normal.

jessycake Mon 05-Aug-19 11:41:13

I have sprained my ankle twice and it was a good 8 weeks or more before it properly healed . With the first one I thought it would never heal and I would be stuck I crocs for ever .

PernillaVanilla Mon 05-Aug-19 13:39:15

Thank you for the encouraging words, I'm clearly being too impatient. I'll get some more ibuprofen, which does help, and stick to the water based exercises but do them gently for the time being. Another 3 -5 weeks of this will be very difficult. not being active makes me eat more too.

quizqueen Mon 05-Aug-19 14:01:39

Rather than an aqua-aerobics class, I would just go and sit in the swimming pool and exercise by myself very gently. Also, use a compress of alternate ice and a hot water bottle when the leg is elevated.

ElaineI Mon 05-Aug-19 14:42:09

Gentle exercise is best. It can take longer for a sprain to heal than a fracture sometimes as it is tendons, ligaments and muscles involved.

Callistemon Mon 05-Aug-19 15:24:49

Sometimes a bad sprain can take longer than a fracture to heal. If you are still in a lot of pain perhaps you could ask for an ultra-sound scan to make sure the ligaments are OK or that there is not a muscle tear.

I think gentle exercise is best and wearing a support is a good idea, but take it off at night.
You could ask the GP if you can see a physiotherapist who will recommend what exercises would be best.

Best wishes.

PernillaVanilla Tue 06-Aug-19 10:40:54

Thank you for your support, I think I now accept this is going to take a while - hopefully back in heels well in time for Christmas! yesterday I rested more and it all felt better than yesterday, which was preceded by too much walking. I am going to aqua aerobics tonight but will join the less mobile ladies in the deeper water where there is less impact.
We have a great phisio service at the local community hospital and i'll go there if I feel things are not improving in another week.

Callistemon Tue 06-Aug-19 10:43:35

Are you on your feet at work or can you put your foot up on a stool or box while you're working?

A support will help to stop swelling too.

Take care of yourself!

BradfordLass72 Wed 07-Aug-19 04:31:23

Get yourself some Epsom Salts (magnesium sulphate), very cheap and available at most chemists and supermarkets, and soak your feet, in water deep enough to cover all your ankle, for 15 mins every day.

Top up the water to keep it as warm as you can bear.
Gently flex your foot and circle your ankle. Massage the Achilles tendon.

Water therapy is good because despite the jumping and running, it's nota weight-bearing activity. And you can hop smile
Do you have a warm-water therapy pool nearby?

Epsom Salts will also keep all your muscles in good shape if you can soak in a bath.....until you can get back to regular exercise.

A warm, ES bath is incredibly good for stress too.
Have a soak before bed and after exercise. Bliss.

Hetty58 Wed 07-Aug-19 05:32:00

I'd say avoid the jumping, even in water. The aches and pains all over could be the result of walking slightly off-balance and shifting weight to your good side. We tend to automatically do that, without even realising, to protect a damaged area.

Another GP visit or physiotherapy might help, as will increased rest with the leg raised.

Dawn22 Wed 07-Aug-19 22:10:19

My guess. Get a really good supportive sock. Will work wonders.
Dawn. Take care.

Grandma2213 Thu 08-Aug-19 01:09:05

I sprained my ankle quite badly at the end of January. I did all the right things, RICE, gentle massage and also kept it moving without weight bearing. After 3 weeks I decided to go to A & E when I found I had also fractured my fibula.

They gave me a big boot and said I was already doing everything right. I persevered with the boot but it did knock me off balance and hurt my calf muscles. I kept as active as possible as long as it didn't hurt too much but by April decided to ask GP's advice about the continuing pain. She was quite horrified that I was taking one paracetamol before a two mile walk and said I should be resting it, even though I explained that resting caused my whole body to seize up! She referred me back to the specialist who sent a letter saying just see my GP if there were problems (in other words 'Tough .. just get on with it! We're busy with more serious problems.)

Well I just got on with it and find that though it does ache at first if I make the effort to avoid limping and walk properly it does actually help to keep active. I have to admit the fall in the garden which resulted in a pulled hamstring on the other leg did not help and caused yet another GP to raise his eyebrows at the next checkup! Anyway he said it could take a long time to recover fully but kindly did not add 'at your age!' If it gets too bad I might take two paracetamol! Keeping moving is definitely the best option in my case for the sake of the rest of my body. Good luck PernillaVanilla

Whitewavemark2 Thu 08-Aug-19 05:09:30

Months! It will go eventually.

I sprained mine years ago - it still has a weakness and if I tread on say a stone or uneven ground it still has a tendency to give way. But I never get any pain now.

BradfordLass72 Thu 08-Aug-19 05:16:21

But I never get any pain now

From what I hear, you're beyond earthly things like pain Whitewave grin

PernillaVanilla Thu 08-Aug-19 15:22:35

The aqua class helped quite a lot this week. I hung out with the ladies who seemed to be a bit wonky for various reasons and we just messed about with our water noodles in the deep end and pretended to jump up and down. Yes, I did this ankle in maybe 12 years ago and a cobbled pavement has always been a bit risk since then. I hate flat shoes so I will religiously do exercises etc. when it is less painful.