A foot sprain occurs when the ligaments that cross the foot tear due to injury, notes Aetna's Intellihealth website. When the ligaments are torn, it's important to see your doctor to find out how bad the sprain is and if you'll need added therapy. Most mild sprains will need nothing more than rest, ice, compression and elevation to heal. As you regain movement, contrast baths can help you regain mobility and stop the pain of rehabilitation, so long as your doctor gives you authorization to try.
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Visit your doctor and have him look at your sprained foot and the healing process. You can soak your foot in cold water at any time to reduce some of the swelling associated with the sprain any time during the healing process. When your doctor tells you it's okay to try mobility exercises, a contrast bath can help you regain mobility while reducing swelling. Severe foot sprains may need professional rehabilitation, so you shouldn't undertake rehabilitation exercises on your own unless your doctor authorizes you to do so.
Fill two basins with water. In one basin, use water that is warm enough to soothe your foot, but not so hot that it hurts to put your foot in the basin. In the second basin, add cold water. You may also want to add some ice cubes to keep the water cold, as ice is one of the ways to help relieve swelling, notes the Mayo Clinic.
Place your sprained foot into the warm bath first, and allow your foot to soak in the warm bath for 10 to 15 minutes to help warm up the muscles for better range of motion, suggests Utah Mountain Biking. When you take your foot out of the bath, test your mobility by carefully wiggling your foot up and down for 30 seconds each. If it's painful, stop immediately; your foot has not yet healed enough for mobility. Otherwise, continue stretching up, then down 10 times.
Immerse your foot in the cold bath immediately after your mobility exercises and allow the foot to soak for about 10 minutes. This will help stop any excessive swelling that could occur after moving your ankle for the first time. Remove your foot when the cold is too much to stand, and dry your foot off. If your foot is still sore, soak in the warm water once again to soothe the muscles.