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Ankle Pain Relief: Sprain Symptoms and How to Heal

Ankle Pain Relief: Sprain Symptoms and How to Heal

Whether or not it’s a sprain, if you’re looking for ankle pain relief, it’s here. We’re going into what makes a sprain, and what you can do to feel better.

If you’ve injured your ankle pain and are seeking ankle pain relief, you’re far from alone.

Every day, a whopping 25,000 people in the U.S. sprain their ankle.

More than 1 million people visit ERs each year because of ankle injuries. The most common of which are sprains and fractures.

The good news is, about 80% of all ankle sprains can be successfully managed by rehabilitation. This includes ankle bracing and physical therapy.

If you’ve injured your ankle and are experiencing sprained ankle symptoms, keep reading to learn what you can do for ankle pain relief.

What Is An Ankle Sprain?

You may be experiencing sprained ankle symptoms. But before we can address the symptoms, let’s get to the root of the possible problem—what does a sprained ankle even mean?

An ankle sprain means you’ve stretched or torn a ligament of the ankle.

The most common of ankle sprains occurs on the outside part of the ankle, also known as the lateral part of the ankle.

Ankle sprains affect many people and occur during a wide variety of activities.

However, while ankle sprains are not uncommon, they are not always minor injuries.

Sprained Ankle Symptoms

For the majority of sprains, you will feel pain immediately. This pain will occur at the site of the tear.

Initial sprained ankle symptoms often include the swelling of the ankle immediately. It may also bruise.

Usually, the area around the ankle is tender to touch and the ankle hurts to move.

More Severe Sprain Symptoms

With more severe ankle sprains, you may even hear and/or feel something tear. This usually comes with a pop or a snap.

In most cases, you will also experience extreme pain at first. You might not be able to walk or put weight on your foot.

The more pain and swelling you have, the more severe you should expect your ankle sprain to be.

Ankle Pain Relief for A Sprained Ankle

Good news! Surgical procedures are rarely required for ankle sprains (you can let out that sigh of relief now). All you will probably need is a little bit of pain medication to help manage pain when it is the sharpest.

Even in severe cases, the ligaments will heal on their own.

The grade of the sprain will determine the treatment course.

Check out the treatments for sprained ankles below, and be sure talk with your doctor about how to proceed if you have sprained ankle symptoms.

RICE—Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation

RICE is the mnemonic for the four elements of treatment for soft tissue injuries. The RICE approach is the first step of ankle pain relief for most cases of ankle sprains. RICE consists of the following:

Rest: Rest your injury as much as possible. You may need to use crutches until you can walk again.

Ice: Keep ice on your ankle for at least the first 24 to 72 hours or until the swelling subsides. Then, apply an ice pack for 10 to 20 minutes every hour or two during the day.

After 48 hours, you can take contrast baths. Do this by alternating cold and warm water.

Compression: Use an elastic compression wrap to help reduce selling. Wear the wrap, such as an ACE bandage, for the first 24 to 36 hours.

Note that compression wraps do not offer protection. For protection, you’ll need an ankle brace.

Elevation: Keep your ankle raised above your heart. Do this for 2 to 3 hours a day.

The elevation works to reduce swelling and bruising.

Protection—Ankle Braces

You’ll want to use something to support and protect your ankle. This could include something such as an ankle brace or air stirrup.

Braces will provide support to weak joints.

How long you should wear the brace depends on the severity of your sprained ankle symptoms.

You may need to wear the ankle brace for up to six weeks.

Wear the brace until the pain and swelling comes down and the ankle becomes more stable.


Proper treatment for sprained ankles include rehabilitation exercises.

Make sure to start rehabilitation exercises slowly. Use your pain level to guide you in doing the exercises.

Typical rehabilitation exercises can include:

Range-of-motion exercises

Begin range-of-motion exercises right after your injury.

After completeing these exercises, ice your ankle.

An example of a range-of-motion exercise is tracing the alphabet with your toe or you can try out towel curls.

Stretching exercises

As soon as you can, start doing exercises to stretch your Achilles tendon. Do not do these exercises if it causes pain.

If you can stand, try the calf stretch. If you need to sit down, give the towel stretch a shot.

Strengthening exercises

Typically, you can start strengthening exercises for your ankle when you’re able to stand without increased pain or swelling. However, talk to your doctor before beginning these excercises as you don’t want to create more damage.

Do strengthening exercises in 8 to 12 repetitions. Try to do this once or twice a day for 2 to 4 weeks.

The duration of time will depend on the severity of your sprain.

Balance and control exercises

Usually, you can start working on these exercises once you can stand without any pain. Again, talk to your doctor or physical therapist first though, in order to figure out the exact timing.

Do a balance exercise at least once a day. Repeat the exercise about 6 times in each session.

Note that you shouldn’t try any of these exercises after your sprain if you could not have done them easily prior to the injury.

How Long Does It Take To Recover?

Just like treatment, the recovery for a sprained ankle depends on the severity of the injury.

For most minor sprains, those injured can return to their normal activities in several days.

More severe sprains will take more time. Very severe sprains may require up to several weeks to heal.

Before you return to sports and other activities that put stress on your ankle, test it out. Try hopping on your ankle. If you feel pain, wait a little longer before resuming those activities.

You’ll want to make sure you follow the treatment course for the recommended amount of time. If an ankle sprain doesn’t heal right, you will likely face more problems in the future.

The joint may become unstable. This can make your ankle weak and therefore, more likely to be reinjured. You may also develop chronic pain.

Have you ever sprained your ankle or had ankle pain? Tell us how you ankle pain relief for your sprained ankle symptoms in the comments!

Could the pain be feet related now?

Check out this article and find out :  10 Common Reasons Why Your Feet Hurt

Roger Safont

Roger Safont - Technology Evangelist, Internet & Digital Marketer, Healthcare Technology Leader

Roger SafontAnkle Pain Relief: Sprain Symptoms and How to Heal