Spraining an ankle is never fun, but with proper care and consideration, you can heal quicker and get back to your daily life. There is a popular method called “RICE,” meaning Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. The primary purpose of “RICE” is to help relieve swelling and heal as quickly as possible.
After you realize you have sprained your ankle, make sure to allow your body enough rest. Make sure you are avoiding any activities that cause you pain. Take a break from any actions that might exacerbate the injury and try to stop putting weight on your ankle. If you have a severe sprain, you may need to use crutches to avoid placing pressure on your injury.
Cold helps to reduce the swelling in a sprained ankle, and aid with pain. Immediately after injuring your ankle, place a cold pack or ice onto the injured area. Place this ice in 15-20 minute intervals for at least 3 times per day. This should be done for around 24-72 hours. After the swelling goes down, you can also apply heat to your injury. This can also be done in intervals with ice, but only if the swelling has gone down.
Wrapping a sprained ankle is a beautiful way to reduce swelling. By placing an elastic bandage for compression, you limit the body’s ability to swell. Make sure you do not wrap your ankle too tight as this can cause more problems. You will know if the bandage is too fast if you lose sensation, feel increased pain, or tingling in your ankle.
Place a pillow underneath your ankle or knee to elevate your ankle. It is essential to keep your sprained ankle above your heart. This will keep the swelling down and promote healing.
Sprained ankles can be very uncomfortable and cause a large amount of pain. To manage this pain, reduce swelling, and make your injury more tolerable, an OTC, nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory medication can be used. These medications include Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin) or Naproxen (Aleve/Naprosyn). Most of the time, a sprained ankle can be swollen and very painful for up to 72 hours. If you see no improvement within 72 hours, it may be an excellent time to see a doctor to confirm you do not have any broken bones.