Nurse Tips: A New Twist on Ankle Injuries

454022490_f7c6a1f3a6_z1If you roll your ankle, the first thing to do is figure out whether it’s broken. If you have any problem putting weight on it, do not try. Putting weight on a broken ankle can cause further breakage and other injury. If you hear a loud snap or you can’t put weight on your foot without feeling nauseous or faint, go to the emergency room immediately.

If you can put weight on your foot, it could be a sprain or strain. You should elevate your foot on pillows so that your injury is higher than your heart. This means more than just a little cushion — you need to get it way up there to contain the swelling. Do this as much as possible for the first 48 hours and even afterward, if there is swelling.

For the first 24 hours, ice your foot for 20 minutes per hour or so. Use crushed ice in a sandwich bag or frozen peas and be sure to wrap the bag with a towel so the ice doesn’t come in contact with your skin.

Also start taking Tylenol or ibuprofen regularly as soon as possible. Relieving the pain will help you heal.

Experts also recommend compression, wrapping an ACE bandage around the ankle. If your toes get cold or it feels uncomfortable, the bandage is too tight and you should take it off and re-wrap.

If you follow these rules, the swelling should start to go down and your foot should start healing within 48 hours. If it stays the same or gets worse, go to the emergency room.

Gradually start putting weight and walking on your foot as it’s getting better, but don’t push it. Overdoing activity can make things worse, as can not moving at all. Listen to your body to determine how much activity you should be doing.

Nurse Tips: Are You Drinking Enough Water?

The Evidence is in the Bowl

WATERAs we get closer to the heat of summer, much of our thinking revolves around hydration and whether we’re getting enough fluid.

There has been a lot of confusing information about how much water each of us should drink. Sometimes it’s eight glasses a day, sometimes ten, and sometimes it’s the same number of ounces as our weight.

But the reality is that there’s no one-size-fits-all amount that everyone should drink. How much fluid you need can vary according to the temperature, your activity level, or even the time of day.

Instead of trying to figure out how much water to drink, just look down the next time you go to the bathroom. The best way to tell that you’re adequately hydrated is that your urine is straw-colored. If it’s clear, you may be drinking too much, and if it’s dark you are not drinking enough.

Either light-colored or dark-colored urine could indicate a medical problem, if it is persistent. So contact your doctor if your urine is regularly clear or very dark.

Jennifer Halloran is the Director of Operations for Everybody Needs A Nurse patient advocates.

Feature image by StephenVance via flickr

Nurse Tips: Grief and Loss

Loss is a natural part of life. Things change, people and pets pass away—this has been true since the beginning of time.

But the message we get from our culture these days is that we need to “move on,” getting over these losses and getting back to “normal,” even when normal is no longer possible. All loss requires a period of adjustment and time to grieve. When we push ourselves to move forward without going through the process, we put ourselves in danger of experiencing our neglected grief in our bodies. Weeks or months later, we may experience headaches, dizzy spells, or stomach aches—sometimes without knowing why.

When you have experienced a loss—whether it’s the loss of a career through retirement, the loss of mobility or other aspect of good health, or the loss of a loved one—be extra careful to listen to your body and give it what it needs. Eat nutritious, satisfying food, get lots of rest, get out into nature and breathe fresh air. And understand that you may feel preoccupied or out of your body.

If you have experienced the loss of a loved one, it can be very helpful to talk to others going through a similar time. We recommend that you contact a hospice in your area to find out about grief support groups (for folks in the Triangle, we recommend you contact Hospice of Wake County at

We wish you a peaceful and healthy April!

Image by Kalexanderosn via Flickr