How to Care for a Sprained Ankle

March 25, 2024
How to Care for a Sprained Ankle

Whether you’re a basketball player driving to the rim for a layup or sleepily stumbling out of bed in the morning, you might be going through a similar process. Both are instances where you can suffer a sprained ankle. This type of injury can have minor effects or cause significant swelling.

According to the National Institute of Health, more than 2 million individuals have sprained ankles yearly. Different treatment methods may be required depending on the injury's severity. This article will explain how to care for a sprained ankle properly. Let’s take a look!

Sprained Ankle Self-Care Tips and Tricks

While severe cases may require surgery or extended physical therapy, most sprained ankles can be healed at home. You may have heard of the “R.I.C.E.” method. This acronym is “Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.” It is a tried and true method that has shown to be quite effective.


First, you must rest your sprained ankle. This means avoiding strenuous activities such as exercise or manual labor. Activities like these can increase swelling, reaggregate pain, and delay proper healing. So, try laying in bed or sitting down as often as possible.


Next, you must ice the injured area. Typically, you should apply ice for 15-20 minutes every 3 hours. This will reduce swelling and ease pain. If you apply ice longer than the recommended time, you may be vulnerable to frostbite.


Then, you should apply compression to your sprained ankle. In particular, a brace or wrap will work best. By doing so, you are limiting the movement of the injured area. This will decrease the chances of injury. However, avoid wrapping too tight, as that can impair circulation.


Finally, you should keep your ankle elevated. When sitting or lying down, place a pillow under your injured ankle. This will minimize swelling and improve blood flow.

Important Information About High Ankle Sprains

Pain levels of a sprained ankle can fluctuate. Initially, you will typically experience strong and sharp pain. You may notice symptoms such as swelling, tenderness, and difficulty walking throughout the injury. It is best to visit a doctor for a thorough diagnosis.

Typically, you will be advised to avoid running or physical activities for an extended period of time. Depending on the injury, this can last 1-2 weeks or 1-2 months. Remember that sprained ankles can be re-aggravated easily. If this occurs, the injury may worsen. Therefore, it’s best to follow your doctor’s advice.

As previously stated, “R.I.C.E.” can be implemented to treat a sprained ankle. However, for Grade 3 injuries, surgery may be required. Often, this is because of damaged ligaments in the ankle. Once surgery is completed, you may need to complete physical therapy. This will help strengthen your ankle and improve mobility.

Strengthening Exercises

A common physical therapy exercise is the ankle alphabet. This involves lying down and spelling out the letters of the alphabet with your recovering ankle. This will significantly improve flexibility.

Furthermore, you may be asked to balance on one leg. This type of exercise will strengthen your injured ankle. As you perform the exercise, slowly increase the single-leg standing time.

Lastly, you should try slowly jogging. This will help improve endurance and mobility. In addition, light exercise will help you feel back to normal. Again, only do this exercise if your doctor approves.

What Diablo Foot and Ankle Can Do for You

Regardless of ankle sprain severity, Diablo Foot and Ankle will be able to help you. Our excellent doctors can create a proper recovery and treatment plan. In addition, we can treat conditions such as foot fractures, plantar fasciitis, and flat feet.

Furthermore, both of our California locations include modern and advanced medical equipment. To learn more or schedule an appointment, please call us at 925-464-1982. We would love to help you.

Common Podiatry Questions

What is a Podiatrist?

A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot and ankle.

What does a Podiatrist treat?

A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the medical and surgical care of the feet. They can treat conditions such as ingrown toenails, fungal toenails, bunions, hammertoes, and plantar fasciitis.

What’s the difference between a Podiatrist and Orthopedist?

A Podiatrist and Orthopedist are very similar to each other in many ways. They use most of the same tools and treat a lot of the same conditions. The main difference between the two is their medical training. Podiatrists are trained exclusively on the foot and ankle, whereas the Orthopedic is trained on the whole body with an additional year of training on the foot and ankle.

Where are your Podiatry clinics located?

At Diablo Foot & Ankle, we treat our foot and ankle patients in two main clinic locations in Walnut Creek and in Antioch California. Dr. Eman Elmi and Dr. Shayan Esspoor are Board Certified Podiatrists who specialize in the treatment of foot and ankle disorders.

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