A sprained ankle typically occurs when the ankle joint is rolled in one direction or the other and the ligaments and tendons, which give it support and hold it upright, are stretched too far. The result is a painful injury that can lead to swelling and immobility.
Bearing in mind that the best advice for any major injury is always given by your doctor, you can administer home treatment of an ankle sprain yourself and there are several steps that you can take in order to alleviate the pain and aid in the healing process.
Sprained Ankle Treatment with Ice
As with any injury, you should immediately ice the ankle. The ice constricts the blood vessels in the affected area, thus restricting blood flow. This restriction in blood flow will help to control the swelling. The ice also helps to numb the pain. You should continue to ice a sprained ankle for twenty minutes several times a day.
If the injury is causing enough pain that it prevents you from walking, then you should see a doctor for some x-rays. The injury could be more significant than you thought. If the injury is just causing you minor discomfort then you may find further relief with an over the counter pain killer. Ibuprofen based products will help reduce some of the inflammation that may be causing the stiffness, and the will also help to numb the discomfort.
Sprained Ankle Recovery
As your ligaments and tendons work to repair and strengthen themselves, you may want to take it easy for a while. Since they have been stretched past their normal capacity, they will be weaker and the probability that you could injure yourself again is higher during the time when your body is rebuilding its strength.
Sprained Ankle Support Brace
Additional treatment of a sprained ankle should include some additional support and to that end, you can buy supportive ankle braces over the counter at many pharmacies or sporting goods stores. These fit tightly over the foot and ankle and offer some support to supplement the natural strength of your ankle, which may be diminished because of the injury.
While it is OK to use these supports during the recovery phase, you may want to consult a doctor about prolonged use, since your body can grow dependent on the brace for support and may never truly regain its own strength.
There is nothing wrong with home treatment of a sprained ankle, but if you have already tried using ice and ibuprofen and you are still experiencing pain or having problems walking, then you should get to a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
There are several other problems, such as torn ligaments, tendons or small fractures that could also be the result of a sprained ankle and the only way you will ever know this is by having a professional assess the injury.