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How To Perform Treatment of a Sprained Ankle


Updated May 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Early treatment of a sprained ankle can help to speed recovery and minimize the symptoms. Here are a few simple treatment steps to follow should you sustain a sprained ankle.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 30 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Protect the sprained ankle.
    This is quite simple, but amazingly common for people to forget. Don't walk on the sprained ankle, and protect it from further contact by immobilizing with a splint or brace.

  2. REST.
    Take a few days off of your feet. You don't have to be inactive, but be sure the ankle is being rested. Possible exercises you can do include swimming and cycling.

  3. ICE.
    This can be done several times a day for 15-20 minutes. This will keep the swelling to a minimum. Do NOT ice for more than 20 minutes, it will do more damage than good.

    This does not have to be all of the time, but particularly when your foot is not elevated it would be advisable. A simple Ace wrap is fine for light compression.

    This will also help to minimize the swelling that takes place. A few pillows under the ankle should be fine to get the leg up enough while keeping the injured limb comfortable.

  6. Seek professional help.
    While most ankle injuries are simple and heal naturally over a short time, some injuries are more severe and can necessitate more aggressive treatment.


  1. Never ice for more than 20 minutes.
    Many people think the more the better, but this is not true! Maximum ice time should be 20 minutes every few hours.

  2. Get creative with icing your sprained ankle.
    A bag of frozen corn or peas makes a great ice pack -- and it's both reusable and edible.

  3. Compression bandages should be snug, not tight.
    If too tight, your circulation will be impaired, and the healing process slowed.

Related Video
How to Ice a Running Injury
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