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How to Reduce Ankle Sprain Swelling

by
author image Rachel Nall
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.
How to Reduce Ankle Sprain Swelling
How to Reduce Ankle Sprain Swelling Photo Credit Aram David/Demand Media

An ankle sprain refers to an injury to one or more of the ligaments on the outer portion of the ankle. Ankle sprains can range in severity from mild ligament stretching to more serious ligament tearing. Swelling and pain frequently accompany an ankle sprain. Treating these symptoms can reduce your symptoms and minimize ankle instability that can occur after an ankle sprain.

Step 1

How to Reduce Ankle Sprain Swelling
Photo Credit Aram David/Demand Media

Rest the ankle immediately following injury to prevent further swelling and allow the ligaments to heal. While the amount of rest required may vary from person to person, rest the ankle until swelling is all or nearly gone and the ankle is not tender to the touch.

Step 2

How to Reduce Ankle Sprain Swelling
Photo Credit Aram David/Demand Media

Apply an ice pack to the ankle. Ice or cold therapy constricts blood vessels and reduces swelling. Be sure to cover the ice pack with a protective cloth or plastic bag in order to prevent cold burns. Leave the ice pack on for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, every three to four hours. Continue for two to three days after injury.

Step 3

How to Reduce Ankle Sprain Swelling
Photo Credit Aram David/Demand Media

Elevate the foot above the heart for 48 hours after injury to reduce swelling in your ankle. Use several comfortable pillows or another prop to keep the foot elevated.

Step 4

How to Reduce Ankle Sprain Swelling
Photo Credit Aram David/Demand Media

Wrap your ankle with an elastic compression wrap to reduce swelling. Leave one finger-width between the wrap and your skin to avoid wrapping too tightly. Wear the wrap while you are awake.

Step 5

How to Reduce Ankle Sprain Swelling
Photo Credit Aram David/Demand Media

Take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, or NSAID, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve) to reduce inflammation. Use only as directed.

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