Inflammatory response in a sprained ankle


Q: I recently sprained my ankle and I know that immediate treatment is the RICE method(Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate). But resting is the only that makes sense to me. Icing and Compressing are used to reduce the inflammation and swelling and elevating would decrease blood supply to the injured area. The area swells so it can allow more blood and leukocytes to the area. Why wouldn't you want more blood to go to the injured area?


A:    The localized inflammatory response after an injury is one of the body’s defense mechanisms; the blood is increased in the affected area, bringing white blood cells necessary to heal the damage. The purpose of an inflammatory response is to contain, control and heal the injury. If the inflammatory response continues over a period of time, then the body may begin to harm itself. This is why the NSAIDs are prescribed (“Motrin”,”Aleve”) to control both: inflammation and pain.

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