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Ankle Sprain (cont.)

Ankle Sprain Treatment

Self-Care at Home

Care at home can help reduce pain and aid healing. Because most of the pain is caused by inflammation, the goal is to reduce and prevent inflammation.

Remember RICE: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

  • Rest prevents further injury and avoids stress on already inflamed tissue.


    • Put the ankle joint at rest by wearing a brace or splint.


    • More severe sprains may be treated with use of crutches.


  • Ice is the best treatment.


    • Applying ice to the injury will help decrease pain.


    • Ice counteracts the increased blood flow to the injured area.


    • It reduces swelling, redness, and warmth.


    • Applied soon after the injury, ice prevents much of the inflammation from developing.


    • Do not apply ice directly to the skin. Use a towel between the ice and the injury, or use an ice bag. Apply ice for 20 minutes at a time, with at least 30 minutes between applications. This is to prevent frostbite, which can occur if you use ice too much or use it directly on your skin.


  • Compression (sometimes called "strapping") provides support and helps prevent inflammation.


    • Elastic wraps such as Ace bandages immobilize the ankle.


    • Do not apply wraps too tightly.


  • Elevation (keeping the injured area up as high as possible) will help the body absorb fluid that has leaked into the tissue.


    • Ideally, prop the ankle up so that it is above the level of the heart.


    • Sit in a reclining chair or prop your legs up with pillows.


  • Anti-inflammatory pain medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin and Advil) and naproxen (Aleve or Naprosyn) will reduce the pain and combat swelling.

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