How To Perform Treatment of a Sprained Ankle

ice ankle sprain
Ice application is helpful to reduce pain and swelling after an ankle sprain. Jeannot Olivet / Getty Images

Early treatment of a sprained ankle can help to speed recovery and minimize the symptoms. Here are a few simple treatment steps to follow should you sustain a sprained ankle.  The initial steps are based on "R.I.C.E." treatment of an acute injury.  This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.  As the initial pain and swelling begin to subside, more aggressive rehabilitation can begin to ensure full recovery.

Here's How:

  1. Protect the Injured Ankle
    This is quite simple, but amazingly common for people to forget. Don't walk on the sprained ankle, and protect it from further contact by immobilizing with a splint or brace.
  2. Rest
    Take a few days off of your feet. You don't have to be inactive, but be sure the ankle is being rested. Possible exercises you can do include swimming and cycling.
  3. Ice
    This can be done several times a day for 15-20 minutes. This will keep the swelling to a minimum. Do not ice for more than 20 minutes, it could do more damage than good.
  4. Compression
    This does not have to be all of the time, but particularly when your foot is not elevated it would be advisable. A simple Ace wrap is fine for light compression.
  5. Elevate
    This will also help to minimize the swelling that takes place. A few pillows under the ankle should be fine to get the leg up enough while keeping the injured limb comfortable.
  1. Get Professional Help
    While most ankle injuries are simple and heal naturally over a short time, some injuries are more severe and can necessitate more aggressive treatment.
  2. Begin Ankle Rehab
    To ensure a full recovery, you will have to regain full mobility, strength, and balance with the injured ankle joint. 


    1. Never ice for more than 20 minutes.
      Many people think the more the better, but this is not true! Maximum ice time should be 20 minutes every few hours.
    2. Get creative with icing your sprained ankle.
      A bag of frozen corn or peas makes a great ice pack -- and it's both reusable and edible.
    3. Compression bandages should be snug, not tight.
      If too tight, your circulation will be impaired, and the healing process slowed.

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