Treat a Sprained Ankle

Edited by Eng, Lynn

When an ankle has been sprained, it can be painful and very uncomfortable to the person who has fallen victim to this injury. The good news is that there are some actions that can be taken to reduce the discomfort and prevent a potential visit to the doctor for further treatment. If the pain continues, it is advisable to seek medical attention in case of a more severe situation.

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Things You May Need

  • Crutches
  • Ankle support
  • ACE bandage
  • Ice pack with ice


  1. 1
    Once afflicted by a sprained ankle you will want to start immediate action to eliminate or minimize swelling. The first measure is to support the affected ankle with a brace. If possible, it is best to use a brace that is combined with a compression wrap. Remember when affixing these supports to not wrap or secure them too tightly. The goal is to not interfere with circulation. This support should be kept in place for a minimum of 24 hours. Indicators that the bandage may be secured too tightly include tingling, numbness, and swelling below the bandage. If any of these symptoms are noticed, the bandage should be reattached.
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  2. 2
    When possible, rest the ankle by use of crutches. If you are not fortunate enough to have some around, they can often be found at second hand thrift stores. Local pharmacies may also carry them, but at a higher cost. Crutches should be used until it no longer hurts to walk without them.
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  3. 3
    Next you will want to place ice on the affected area. It is recommended to use for no more than 20 minutes every couple of hours for a period of 2 to 3 days.
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  4. 4
    To help alleviate the pain, Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, or a similar pain reliever should be taken in accordance with the dosage instructions on the package.
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  5. 5
    If it is required to bear weight on the injured ankle during the first day to day and a half, it is strongly recommended to use both compression and a protective brace to help decrease swelling and prevent further injury. The best possible option is to stay off the ankle all together.
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  6. 6
    Elevation is the next step to successful care of a sprained ankle. The ankle should be raised above the heart for two to three hours each day. This simple but effective action will help to decrease bruising and swelling.
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  7. 7
    Proper footwear can go a long way toward the recovery of an ankle sprain. Keep in mind that if the shoe or boot seems too tight on the injured area, you should not force it on. Attempting this may lead to additional damage. If you are on pain-killer medications, you might not feel the pressure your footwear is inflicting on your foot; visual observation and feeling with your hand can help you assess that pressure. You need to look for supportive footwear, not tight.
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  8. 8
    If it is necessary to keep weight off the injured area, be sure that you know how to use crutches or a walker correctly. Misuse can lead to additional injuries.
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  9. 9
    Generally, sprains of this nature heal by themselves within time. If after several days pain is still experienced, you should follow up with medical professionals.
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  10. 10
    When all else fails, it may be required to have surgery or participate in rehabilitation exercise. If ligaments or tendons are torn or damaged, additional measures may be required.
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If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: Eng

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