Health Team

Rest is best for weekend warriors with sprained ankles

Posted March 31

Weekend warriors sprain their ankles all the time, but they have plenty of time to rest and heal.

It's different for elite athletes. Joel Berry, a guard for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has had to hurry back from recent sprains in both ankles to help his team prepare to face Oregon in the NCAA's Final Four.

Two weeks ago, Berry suffered a right ankle sprain against Texas Southern. Last week, he sprained his left ankle in a game against Kentucky. He left the court, but was able to return after a brief spell to help propel UNC to the Final Four.

On Friday, Berry said he participated fully in North Carolina's closed practice and felt good. For him, the key will be to get involved in the game so he doesn't think about it the pain.

Where Berry will be needed by the Tar Heels, Dr. David Boone, an orthopedic surgeon in Raleigh, advised those who play for fun to bench themselves after a sprain.

"Initially, you want to go through the old R.I.C.E. protocol: rest, ice, compression, elevation," Boone said. "That will take care of most of the sprains. If you have a situation where the individual, the athlete cannot bear weight or has a pain over a bone, then an X-ray is very important to rule out a fracture."

Boone, a foot and ankle specialist, says most ankle sprains only involve a stretch or partial tear of a ligament. The most severe involve a complete rupture. Most don't require surgery.


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