An ankle sprain is any damage to any of the ligaments on the exterior region of the ankle. The injury can vary in seriousness from minor ligament stretching to serious tearing of the ligament.
Pain and swelling frequently occur with an ankle sprain. The management of these symptoms can lessen the discomfort as well as minimizing instability of the joint that arises after sustaining a sprain.
Measures to manage an ankle sprain
- The damaged ankle should be allowed to rest right after the injury to prevent further swelling and allow healing of the ligaments. Even though the amount of rest required varies for everyone, the ankle should be rested until the swelling has settled and the joint is not tender to the touch.
- Place an ice pack on the joint. The cold constricts the blood vessels and lessens the swelling. Make sure that the ice pack is wrapped with a clean cloth to prevent damage to the skin. Apply for 10-15 minutes at a time for every 3-4 hours. The application should be continued for 2-3 days after the injury.
- Raise the foot above the level of the heart for 48 hours to lessen the swelling in the ankle. Utilize several cushions or pillows to keep the foot elevated.
- Wrap the ankle sprain using an elastic compression wrap to lower the swelling. Make sure that the wrap is not too tight and must be worn while awake.
- A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or naproxen can be used to lessen the inflammation from an ankle sprain.
During the initial 24 hours after injury, avoid taking hot showers, applying heat rubs, drinking alcohol or applying a heating pad.
The individual should consult a doctor if he/she could not bear any weight on the leg or could not move the ankle after the injury.
Disclaimer / More Information
The information posted on this page on swelling from an ankle sprain is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly manage the injury, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.