An ankle sprain is a common injury that occurs when your ankle rolls or turns in an awkward way. This stretch can cause harm to bands of tissues that hold your ankle bone together. When this type of foot injury occurs, it’s important to see a doctor to have the severity assessed and make sure it’s not a fracture. The doctor will examine your ankle, foot and lower leg as well as the range of motion of your ankle to understand your discomfort or pain. If they find anything serious or unusual, they will recommend you to get an x-ray or scan to make an accurate diagnosis.
Treatment will be based on the severity of your injury. The primary aim of the treatment for an ankle sprain is to reduce swelling and bruising, promote healing of the ligament and restore the function of the ankle. If the injury is severe, your physician may refer you to an orthopedist.
There are home remedies to help an ankle sprain heal faster.
Home Remedies for Ankle Sprain
Swelling and bruising caused by the sprain will take a few days to subside. Typically, an ankle sprain will take four to six weeks to heal completely. If it’s a mild sprain, your doctor will most likely recommend RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
Rest: Give the affected leg proper rest.
Ice: Apply an ice pack immediately after the sprain to reduce swelling. Apply it for at least for 20-30 minutes, four times a day, until the swelling subsides.
Compression: Wrap the sprain part with an elastic bandage to reduce swelling and pain and to stabilize the joint.
Elevation: Elevate your ankle above the level of your heart at least for 48 hours.
Other home remedies for a sprained ankle:
- Epsom salt:
Applying cold compression for first few after the injury will improve mobility. During this time, you can soak your ankle in warm water with Epsom salt. This will soothe sore muscles and connective tissue, and ease the stiffness of the muscles. Do this one or twice a day.
- Natural anti-inflammatories
Turmeric, garlic, onion, castor oil, and olive oil have anti-inflammatory properties. Gently heat these items, apply them to the sprain, and wrap your ankle using a bandage for several hours. Though studies have mixed opinions about the effectiveness of natural anti-inflammatory ingredients, these are unlikely to harm your health and may support healing.
- Heat application
Applying heat will increase blood flow and promote faster healing. Many find this an effective method to relax sore muscles. However, it is not recommended to use heat if your ankle is still swollen. It will increase inflammation and slow down the healing process. After the swelling subsides completely, apply a heat pack for 15-20 minutes at a time.
After the injury has healed completely, your doctor may recommend light exercises, massage and physical therapy to restore muscle strength and mobility.
With the right care, your sprained ankle will heal faster and you can get back to action quickly.