Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain happens when the bands of tissue that hold the ankle bones together (ligaments) stretch too much and tear.


  • Put ice on the ankle for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • You may stop icing when the puffiness (swelling) goes down.

  • Raise (elevate) the injured ankle to lessen puffiness.

  • Use crutches if your doctor tells you to. Use them until you can walk without pain.

  • If a plaster splint was applied:

  • Rest the plaster splint on nothing harder than a pillow for 24 hours.

  • Do not put weight on it.

  • Do not get it wet.

  • Take it off to shower or bathe.

  • Follow up with your doctor.

  • Use an elastic wrap for support. Take the wrap off if the toes lose feeling (numb), tingle, or turn cold or blue.

  • If an air splint was applied:

  • Add or release air to make it comfortable.

  • Take it off at night and to shower and bathe.

  • Wiggle your toes while wearing the air splint.

  • Only take medicine as told by your doctor.

  • Do not drive until your doctor says it is okay.


  • You have more bruising, puffiness, or pain.

  • Your toes feel cold.

  • Your medicine does not help lessen your pain.

  • You are losing feeling in your toes or they turn blue.

  • You have severe pain.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.