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5 Home Remedies for a Twisted Ankle

An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments that connect and support the ankle bones are stretched beyond their normal limits. Whether from a sports injury or a misstep on uneven ground, a twisted ankle resulting in a sprain can be a painful experience.

The team at Family Foot & Ankle Center of South Jersey in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, is here to help. We’re happy to see you for ankle or foot pain after an injury. However, we also have some tips for treating a potential sprain at home.    

Try these five effective home remedies to alleviate pain and speed up healing for a twisted ankle:

1. Rest

One of the initial steps in treating a twisted ankle is to rest the affected foot. Engaging in strenuous activities or trying to “walk it off” can exacerbate the injury and prolong the healing process.

Modifying your activities to rest the ankle for 24-48 hours after the injury reduces pressure on the ligaments and other soft tissue structures affected by the sprain. If you find it difficult to walk at all after the sprain, you likely need a doctor’s care and may require crutches or another assistive device like a brace.  

2. Ice

Ice therapy is an effective way to manage pain and swelling associated with a twisted ankle. The ice helps constrict blood vessels, reducing blood flow and minimizing swelling while numbing the area, providing immediate pain relief.

For ice therapy, wrap a few ice cubes in a towel or apply a cold pack to the twisted ankle for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Be sure to place a cloth between the ice pack and your skin to prevent an ice burn.

Check with your Family Foot & Ankle specialist before using ice if you have diabetes or another condition that compromises circulation in your legs and feet.

3. Compression

Compression is another essential component of home treatment for a twisted ankle. Using a compression bandage or elastic wrap helps stabilize the injured ankle, reducing swelling and providing support to the surrounding tissues.

Wrap the bandage snugly around the ankle, starting from the base of the foot (farthest from the heart) and working your way up to the calf. However, make sure not to wrap it too tightly, as it can impede blood flow.

Leave the compression bandage on during the day but remove it before going to bed to allow proper circulation.

4. Elevate

Keeping the injured ankle elevated above heart level can decrease swelling, relieve pressure, and reduce pain. Prop the ankle comfortably on pillows when lying down or seated to facilitate a faster recovery.

5. Medicate and rehabilitate

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen are typically able to reduce pain sufficiently. Our Family Foot & Ankle team recommends scheduling a visit for further treatment if your pain worsens or does not fade despite these measures.

Once the initial pain and swelling have subsided, gentle exercise and stretching can help restore mobility and strengthen the injured ankle. Start with simple range-of-motion exercises, such as ankle circles and toe curls, 24-48 hours after the injury to improve flexibility and reduce stiffness.

Progress to more advanced exercises as the ankle begins to heal, such as calf raises and ankle dorsiflexion, to strengthen the surrounding muscles and ligaments. However, avoid putting too much strain on the ankle and discontinue any exercise that causes pain or discomfort.

Our team is happy to help develop a personalized strengthening and rehab strategy, especially if you struggle with frequent ankle sprains.

Schedule an evaluation at Family Foot & Ankle Center of South Jersey today by calling the office or reaching out online.

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