An ankle sprain is the most common sprain injury and it can usually be treated at home.
An ankle sprain is painful and can happen quickly. It occurs when your ligaments stretch or tear. You might hear a popping sound at the time of the sprain – that means the ligament, which connects two bones together, is stretching or being torn. A sprain can cause you immediate pain and even cause you to fall over or grab your leg in pain.
You can expect pain, swelling, bruising, loss of mobility, and possibly the popping sound at the time of the sprain.
If it is a mild sprain, you can treat it yourself. Self-treatment includes following the RICE regimen: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. An over-the- counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen may help. Applying ice to minimize swelling will also help. Apply the ice to the area for 15 or 20 minutes and repeat every two hours. Keep an eye on the area.
Compression means using an elastic bandage to help stop the swelling. Be careful to not compress the bandage too tightly as that could cut off oxygen supply to the area. Keep your ankle raised, especially at night to help with the swelling.
If pain persists after a few days, see your podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon. Other symptoms that need a doctor’s treatment also include the inability to move the sprained ankle, pain over the bone, or any kind of numbness around the area. You may then require an X-ray or MRI to make sure you have a sprain and not a broken bone.
Be gentle those first few days after the sprain occurs. Follow the RICE procedure and follow up with your doctor if the sprain does not feel better.