How to Treat a Sprained Ankle 

 February 15, 2017

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Slip and fall accidents are common in the winter and often result in injuries such as sprained ankles. You may also fall and sprain your ankle playing sports in warmer weather, or you could simply lose your footing. No matter how it happens, a sprained ankle can be painful and debilitating. Here are some tips on what to do if you fall and sprain your ankle. 

At-Home Treatment for a Sprained Ankle

You can remember the recommended treatment for a sprained ankle with the acronym RICE:

R (Rest): Stay off your injured ankle as much as possible. You may need to use crutches to get around until you can put weight on your ankle without pain. 

I (Ice): Put an ice pack on your sprained ankle for 20 minutes every hour during the day. Do not put ice directly on your skin because it can cause damage. Use a thin towel to protect your skin. You can continue with ice after 48 hours or try a contrast bath, alternating between hot and cold. 

C (Compression): Wear a compression wrap on your sprained ankle for the first 24 to 36 hours to reduce swelling. You should wear a brace if you need to put weight on your ankle. Be careful not to make the compression wrap or brace too tight. You can tell that it is too tight if you experience tingling, numbness, increased pain, swelling, or coolness in the area below the wrap. 

E (Elevation): Keep your ankle elevated above your heart for 2 to 3 hours a day to reduce swelling and bruising. 

You can take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin. Follow the directions on the label. Do not give aspirin to a child. 

You may find the support of hiking boots or high-top shoes to be helpful. Don’t try to force your foot into a boot or shoe if it causes you a lot of pain. 

See a Doctor to Make Sure You Don’t Have a Broken Bone

If you sprain your ankle, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. You may have a broken bone if you heard a “popping” sound when you fell, you can’t move your ankle or leg, your ankle buckles when you try to put weight on it, your ankle or leg is numb, or you have severe pain, swelling, or a fever. The doctor may want to take x-rays or an MRI to check for a broken bone. You may need to wear a cast until your ankle has healed. If the sprain is serious, you may need surgery. 

Make Sure You Have Supplies Needed to Treat a Sprain in Your First Aid Kit

1st Aid Supplies has essentials that should be included in a first aid kit or cabinet at home or at work. You should always have ice packs and Ace bandages on hand in case someone falls and gets a sprained ankle. Stock your first aid kit with all of the essentials from 1st Aid Supplies today.

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