The causes of a sprained ankle are many, including a misstep, sports injury or fall. One of the symptoms of this injury is swelling at the site. When your skin swells, it also stretches, which may cause it to itch. Treating an itchy sprained ankle at home is usually appropriate, but if home methods don't work, contact your doctor.
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Swollen, stretched skin is likely the reason your ankle itches after a sprain. However, some of the treatments for a sprained ankle may be playing a role as well. According to MayoClinic.com, certain pain medications cause itching. If this is the case, you likely will feel itchiness on other parts of your body as well as your ankle. If this occurs, stop taking the medication and call your doctor. The itching sensation also could be due to contact dermatitis. This condition occurs when your skin is exposed to an irritant or allergen. If you are applying an anti-itch cream or wearing a compression bandage, you may be having a reaction to either product. Contact your doctor for alternatives.
Once the cause of your itchy skin is diagnosed, your doctor will recommend an appropriate treatment for it. This is likely to include topical creams that don't contain irritants that may worsen the condition. Oral medications also may be prescribed and are good choices if you have sensitive skin. If your choice of bandage is causing the itch on your sprained ankle, one made from cotton may be easier on your skin. Keeping the area covered helps keep you from scratching, allowing the area to heal.
Keeping swelling at bay as your sprained ankle heals reduces the chance of itchy skin. MayoClinic.com suggests icing the area for 15 to 20 minutes every couple of hours and elevating your ankle as often as possible. If your skin tolerates it, a compression bandage also controls swelling. While your ankle heals, apply a gentle moisturizing lotion often to keep the skin hydrated and reduce itching associated with swelling or skin irritation. Cool, wet compresses offer quick relief for an itch as does a cool foot bath containing baking soda or ground oatmeal.
Scratching an itchy patch of skin on your sprained ankle could lead to an infection, particularly if the skin is cracked. If the skin in the area breaks open, treat it with an antibacterial cream and keep it covered to prevent further scratching. According to MedlinePlus, contact dermatitis can cause further swelling, making prompt treatment important for hastening the healing process. If itchy skin persists in the area after your ankle heals, contact your doctor to rule out an underlying health condition.