A sprained ankle involves a stretched or torn ligament near the joint. Experts often suggest icing the ankle to ease pain and reduce swelling.
The American Academy of Family Physicians offers these guidelines for icing a sprained ankle:
- Fill a plastic bag with crushed ice and apply it to the ankle. But first, cover the ankle with a thin, damp cloth.
- To create an ice slush bath, add water and ice to a large bucket, immersing your foot until the skin feels numb.
- For an ice massage, freeze water in a small Styrofoam cup, removing the top section of the cup once it's frozen. Gently massage the ankle with the ice, holding the covered section, in a circular rotation. Don't hold the ice on the same part of the ankle for more than 30 seconds.
- For the first three days after the sprain, ice your ankle every two-to-four hours.
- Don't apply ice for longer than 20 minutes. Applying it longer can result in nerve damage.
- Always remove the ice when your skin starts to feel numb.
Health Tip: Have You Sprained Your Wrist?
Your wrist hurts after a fall. Is it a sprain, or another type of injury?
The wrist, as is the case with many joints, contains strong bands of tissue called ligaments that connect bones. An injury to one or more of these ligaments is called a sprain.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons said symptoms of a sprained wrist include:
- Pain, especially when you flex the wrist.
- A bruise or unusual color of the skin surrounding the wrist.
- Tenderness or a warm feeling at the site of the injury.
- A tearing or popping sensation in the wrist.