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Written by our Human Movement Specialists

An ankle sprain is a common injury that can happen to anyone, whether you're an athlete or just going about your daily routine. While it can be painful and limit your mobility, there are steps you can take to treat your ankle sprain so you can get back to your normal activities sooner. This guide will provide you with the information you need to properly care for your ankle sprain and speed up your recovery.

A woman running on a trail after recovering from her ankle sprain

Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (RICE)

The RICE method is a go-to way to start caring for your ankle sprain because it can help reduce pain and swelling.

  • Rest your ankle and take a break from activities that cause pain or discomfort

  • Apply ice to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day

  • Use compression by wrapping the ankle with an elastic bandage to help reduce swelling

  • Elevate your ankle above your heart level to help reduce swelling and improve blood flow

Remember to consult with a healthcare professional if your symptoms worsen or do not improve after a few days. This is an indication of a more severe ankle sprain in which some of the ankle ligaments have torn.

A girl elevating her feet after an ankle sprain

Wear an ankle brace to support your ankle

Ankle braces are designed to provide extra support to the ankle joint, reducing the risk of injury or re-injury. They work by stabilizing the ankle and limiting excessive movement that can cause further damage. Most ankle braces come with adjustable straps or laces, allowing for a personalized fit and level of support. Some braces also include padding or compression for added comfort and protection. To ensure maximum effectiveness, our Movement Specialists will help you choose the right type of ankle brace for your needs.

Do exercises to improve range of motion and strength

Once the initial swelling and pain have subsided, it’s important to start doing exercises to improve your range of motion and start regaining strength in your ankle. This can also help prevent future ankle sprains and improve the overall health of your ankle. It’s important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of your exercises as your ankle heals. Here are some exercises you can do:

  • ankle circles

  • heel raises

  • resistance band exercises

  • use a balance board

Gradually return to normal activities

After following the these initial steps for treating your ankle sprain, it’s important to gradually return to your normal activities. This means starting with low-impact activities, such as walking or swimming, and gradually increasing the intensity and duration of your exercise routine until you reach your pre-injury activity level. It’s important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard, as this can lead to re-injury. If you experience any pain or discomfort, stop the activity and rest your ankle.

*This is to be considered general advice only and we encourage you to consult with your Healthcare Professional for an accurate diagnosis


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