The very first step to treating an ankle sprain is RICE. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
- Rest from any activities that place strain on the ankle.
- Ice the ankle for 15-20 minutes every few hours.
- Compress the ankle with a wrapping like an ACE bandage or compression sock.
- Elevate the ankle above the heart, especially at night.
However, it is still vital you see a foot doctor for any ankle sprain to avoid an unstable ankle with likely recurrent sprains. Your foot and ankle specialist will examine your foot and likely order diagnostic tests such as X-rays to rule out additional foot injuries such as fractures and broken bones. Treatment methods depend largely on the extent of the injury. Healing is aimed at reducing pain and swelling as well as restrengthening the ankle to restore balance and proper function. This may include the use of anti-inflammatory medication, laser therapy, medical devices such as braces, cast boots, crutches, etc., and physical therapy. If pain persists, an MRI will show the extent of the soft tissue damage which may involve a small fracture of the cartilage in the ankle joint.