Knowing how to treat a sprained ankle can save you a lot of pain and suffering down the road. A sprained ankle is actually a torn or strained ligament, which is a band of fibrous tissue that bundles bones together. How you proceed to treat a sprained ankle will depend on how severe the sprain is.
- See a doctor if your ankle is painful and swelling. A doctor will ensure that it is actually a sprained ankle and not something more severe, such as a fracture.
- Take a pain reliever medication—such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen—to help control the pain.
- Wrap your ankle with a bandage in a “figure of eight” pattern, leaving your heel exposed. Your doctor will likely show you how to properly wrap your sprained ankle at the time of your visit.
- Take the RICE treatment approach. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This form of treatment is commonly prescribed to treat a sprained ankle.
- Use a semi-rigid ankle brace once your sprain heals and you want to start exercising it again. This will provide support and will reduce the range of motion, as to prevent further injury.
- Start off with slow exercises, such as ankle circles. Ankle circles consist of moving your ankle from side to side, then up and down, then around in circles. Do this exercise five to ten times, at a minimum of three times per day.
- Wear high-topped sneakers to give your sprained ankle more support while it is healing. This is an alternative to using your ankle brace, and the support will reduce your chance of further injuring your ankle.