A sprained ankle is a stretched or torn ligament, which results
in pain, swelling, and instability of the ankle.
can you do?
REST. Stay off your foot. Standing and walking will increase and
YOUR FOOT above the level of your hips whenever possible. This will
AN ELASTIC BANDAGE to help reduce swelling and to provide some ankle
support. Always wrap from the toes up (against gravity). If your
foot hurts with the bandage on, loosen or re-wrap the elastic bandage.
Remove the bandage at bedtime.
ICE for 20 minutes at a time as often as possible. Ice will keep
the swelling down. Go to heat when all of the following are true:
you have pain-free ankle motion.
- you have full ankle motion.
- you have no new swelling.
- the injured ankle feels the same temperature as the uninjured
will take some people longer than others to get to the point of
using heat. Do not use the clock or the calendar to decide when
to stop ice. Use the criteria listed instead.
HEAT for 20 minutes at a time as often as possible. Moist heat is
most effective. Use warm wet towels or soak foot and ankle in warm
water. If the foot or ankle swells with heat, discontinue heat and
go back to using ice.
IBUPROFEN 600-800mg every 8 hours for pain and swelling.
CRUTCHES until you can walk without ankle pain or limping. Crutches
will keep your weight off your injured ankle.
REGULAR ACTIVITIES only when there is no longer any pain or limping.
Begin running slowly and for short distances only when you can walk
without pain or limping. Remember, sprains take time to heal, often
health care personnel:
if there is little improvement after 7 days despite using the
- if swelling and bruising increase despite using the above measures.
- if pain has not decreased significantly with the above measures.
- if you are unable to bear weight on your ankle.
- anytime you are unsure of what to do.
to Common Ailments page
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