You've worked through pain before, but never anything like this. A few days ago, during your running routine, you hit something on the ground and twisted your ankle. You didn't fall down at the time, but now it's swollen and uncomfortable.
You hobbled into an urgent care center, where they took x-rays and told you that nothing is fractured. You have a sprained ankle. That's a great relief, but you can still hardly walk.
Your practitioner has recommended conservative treatment for your sprained ankle. She and the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society suggest the RICE regime (rest, ice, compression and elevation). This means that for the first days after your injury, until most of the swelling has gone down, you should spend a lot of time resting with that foot elevated above the level of your heart. An ankle wrap or brace can be used to compress the area to encourage the swelling to resolve. Additionally, an ice pack with a cloth covering should be on your ankle for 20 minutes each hour.
Once you've sprained a joint, there is a greater likelihood of spraining it again. So, after most of your swelling has resolved, your practitioner may recommend an ankle brace, for increased stability and support of that ankle.
Since 1961, we here at Mueller Sports Medicine have been making the devices that orthopods use when treating ankle injuries and other orthopedic conditions and injuries. If you've had an injury, and your physician is recommending an orthopaedic brace or other device, please contact us for more information.