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How to deal with a sprained ankle

A sprain in the ankle can occur, in both athletes and in people who have a sedentary lifestyle. The sprain can occur during walking or even during playing some game. Hence a basic knowledge about how to deal with ankle sprains is helpful.


When an individual sprains his ankle, the best way to deal with it is by taking rest. Resting ensures that no further harm is caused to your already sprained ankle. It also takes care of the fact that the inflamed tissue remains stress free. The sprained ankle can be put to rest by wearing a brace or a splint on the affected area. This ensures that no further damage is caused to the tissues. This also reduces the motion of the ankle, enabling it to get cured easily. Crutches are also recommended by doctors for people who have a sprained ankle. Using crutches helps your injured ankle from taking the weight off your body. This helps in quick healing. Resting would ensure that your ankle is given time to heal naturally. The tissues and ligaments would start their natural course of heeling and get well soon.

Applying ice

Using ice on sprained ankle can do wonders. This helps to reduce the pain caused by the sprain, immediately, unless it is a critical sprain. When an individual sprains his ankle, there is an increased blood flow in the region of the sprain. When one applies ice to the area, it counteracts with the increase in the blood flow and gives relief to the person. Swelling of the ankles, reddening of the area around the ankle can be reduced by applying ice. As soon as an individual sprains his ankle, immediately applying ice to the affected area prevents the development of inflammation. A word of caution: one should never apply ice on the sprained area directly. A towel can be used, in which one can place the ice cubes and then slowly apply it on the affected zone. One can also use an ice bag to apply ice. You can apply ice for a period of twenty minutes at one time. However, ensure that there is a time gap of around thirty minutes before you apply ice on the sprained area again. This should be done to avoid developing frost bites, which usually occur when one applies ice too often on the skin. It is however recommended by doctors to use ice as long as an individual feels comfortable using it. The cold will surely be a reason of discomfort for many people. However, one must be aware that the moment when one experiences excess of pain or discomfort, one should immediately remove the ice bag. Athletes may be well accustomed with this technique of treating sprained ankles. Children and elderly people are very sensitive to cold. So, an individual should be very careful while using ice on their sprained ankles. People afflicted with circulatory problems should also be careful while using ice.

Compression or bandaging

A good way to deal with sprained ankles is by compression, which is also known as ‘strapping’. This technique supports your ankle, thereby helping in prevention of inflammation. One should never apply wraps too tightly around the ankle. This may cause discomfort and even may aggravate your already sprained ankle. It is better not to use elastic wraps like Ace bandages, which instead of aiding you in walking, immobilize you. Another useful bandaging technique is the Lousiana wrap. This wrap provides a good support to the injured ankles and also provides compression to ease the pain. In case of minor sprains, one can use a normal sprain bandage which is made of an elastic material. Wrap this bandage at a comfortable tightness on your sprained ankle and this would ensure that the ankle is kept warm and protected from further hurt.


When you sprain your ankle, keeping your sprained ankle as high as possible is a good way to deal with it. When you elevate your ankle to a higher level than your body, the fluids that have leaked to the sprained area get absorbed in the body. Elevation would prevent the rush of blood to the sprained area and hence prevent immense pain. When blood rushes to the affected area, you start experiencing pain. The ideal elevating position is to keep your ankle at a level which is above the level of your heart. For doing this, you can sit in a reclining chair and put your legs up, high with the help of cushions piled up one after the other.

Anti-inflammatory pain medicines

Apart from the above mentioned techniques to deal with ankle sprain, medicines are also prescribed by doctors for pain reduction and for controlling the degree of inflammation. Many individuals often cannot tolerate these drugs. They are given acetaminophen (Tylenol) or narcotics as alternative medicines for ankle sprains. Rub on relief creams are special ointments which can be applied to the sprained area. This ointment is effective in treating injuries of the soft tissues like sprains, tears or strains. These can be used as first aid when your ankle gets sprained. These ointments will give you temporary relief but for a prolonged and fast recovery you might need other medications.

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