Sustaining an ankle sprain can be scary for both injured employees and employers. If employees are working on uneven surfaces, wearing improper footwear or making sudden movements, they can be at risk of spraining their ankle at their workplace.
Ankle sprains are not rare. In fact, they are the most common athletic injury and the top reason people see an orthopedist. Injury intensity can range from a simple ligament sprain to a complete tear. But no matter the level of sprain, one of the most common treatments is to wrap the ankle at least once a day to reduce swelling, add support to the joint and properly align the ligament.
Although wrapping is one of the most effective ways of treating an ankle sprain, healing can be boosted by other methods. What other ways are there to treat an ankle sprain?
How to treat ankle sprains at the workplace
If an employee has already sprained their ankle, they can treat their injury with the R.I.C.E. method: rest, ice, compression and elevation. Employees should try to remember that:
- Rest can reduce your chances of further injury — Refraining from applying pressure to the injured ligament can tremendously help the recovery process. Many medical professionals recommend resting an injured ankle for at least 24 hours after the injury.
- Ice can effectively reduce swelling and pain — Applying ice to a sprained ankle every two to three hours can help injured employees with pain management and swelling.
- Compression, or wrapping, can be essential to ankle sprain recovery — Compression can reduce swelling and encourage the sprained or torn ligament to settle in its proper place. This is where the wrapping comes in. Soft-padded boots or elastic bandage wrapping can be effective compression methods for sprained ankles.
- Elevation can ease swelling in the injured area — Sprained ankles often swell. However, it’s important to help the accumulated fluid drain properly after the initial injury. Encouraging proper drainage can support a healthy recovery. You can prop your ankle on pillows to comfortably elevate your ankle.
Treating ankle sprains with the R.I.C.E. method can be a vital step on the road of recovery.
How to prevent ankle sprains in the workplace
While ankle sprains can come on suddenly, there are steps employees can take to prevent them from happening. Effective preventive techniques in the workplace can include:
- Slip/trip/fall prevention — Many people can sprain their ankle by slipping, tripping or falling on slick surfaces. Employers and employees can lessen the chance for these accidents by wearing slip-resistant shoes. They can also ensure that wet floors are always labeled in a way that is visible to employees. To prevent these accidents, employees can work on their situational awareness, which can empower them to evaluate their environment for potential hazards in relation to their body.
- Balance training — Training muscles to quickly respond to uneven surfaces can help protect an employee from a sprain in unsafe conditions. For example, if you’ve ever rolled your ankle while walking on uneven grass and had it roll back quickly and safely, then you know the benefits of good balance. An onsite athletic trainer can create a custom balance program to address the specific needs and workstation set up hazards for your employees.
- On-site injury management with certified athletic trainers — By using the same methods applied to athletes, certified athletic trainers can help injured employees in the workplace, at the moment of injury. In addition to providing on-site first aid, they can give classes and seminars so that employees know how to reduce their chances of injury.
Work-Fit can help employees access the ankle treatment options they need
Work-Fit’s exceptional resources can help your employees address their ankle injuries and concerns. Our team can come to you to help your employees prevent on-site injuries. We can also provide on-site triage with our user-friendly telehealth services. Whatever your needs are, Work-Fit can help you protect your employees’ health and wellness.
Contact our team today for more information about our services or to learn how we can help keep your employees work fit.