I've been trying to write about topics that i get asked about frequently at work. Here's another one..
I frequently see kids with ankle and foot injuries. Most of the time they have sprains. A sprain is an injury to the ligaments of a joint- the part that holds the muscle to bone. These can take a long time to heal and proper care is important.
The most important thing is to rest the injured area! If you hurt your ankle playing soccer and continue to play soccer then it will take even longer to heal.
Ice is helpful to decrease swelling of an injured joint. I usually recommend 20 min 2-3 times per day but that is a general guideline.
You also need some sort of compression such as an ace bandage or a splint. I like to use air casts for ankle sprains and they work very well.
Elevate the joint as much as possible. This will also help with decreasing swelling.
Most ankle sprains heal within about 4 weeks but it's very important to followup with your health care provider before returning to sports.