How to Heal a Sprained Ankle and Get Rid of Pain

Man holding injured ankle


You’ve sprained your ankle? Ouch!

You’re probably looking for some tips and tricks to help heal your ankle properly.

In this article, we’ll go over how to treat a sprained ankle and when it’s time to visit an urgent care center.

There are a few things you can do at home to help your ankle heal before or after you see a doctor. Following these rules will help get you back on your feet (pun intended) in no time.

How to Treat a Sprained Ankle: R.I.C.E.

Doctors have developed a very simple acronym for healing soft tissue injuries: R.I.C.E. This stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation. Together, these work well for healing a less complicated sprain.


The rest component means staying off your sprained ankle for as long as possible. If your ankle is particularly badly sprained, a doctor may give you crutches to help you get around. Limit walking and household activities and chores as much as possible.


Ice works to help reduce the swelling in the area. You should wrap the ice inside of a cloth or pillowcase to avoid direct contact with the skin. Place it on the sprained ankle for 20 minutes at a time. Repeat several times a day.


Compression means to compress your ankle. This works by wrapping a bandage or other stability device around your ankle. This will help limit motion as well as bring down the swelling.


Elevating your sprained ankle above your heart is an important way to keep the swelling down. When sitting around the home or when you go to sleep, ensure your ankle is above your waist. Use pillows or other devices to keep it propped up comfortable.


Your doctor may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or you can take them without a doctor’s prescription to help heal minor pain. You may purchase these at your local pharmacy over the counter in the form of pills like Advil, Ibuprofen or Tylenol. They can help reduce the swelling of your ankle.

Your doctor may prescribe stronger drugs in the same family to help keep your pain down. These may have a slightly larger dosage than the pills you would purchase over the counter.


If your ankle’s sprain was severe, your doctor may prescribe you stronger painkillers. These can help take the edge off of the more severe pain. This will not occur, however, unless your sprained ankle involves something more serious, like a ligament tear.


We’ve gone over compression, but sometimes, a doctor may decide to immobilize your ankle completely. This may mean wearing a boot you can take off to shower and sleep, or a cast that you wear all of the time. These methods can help heal more intense sprains.

How to Treat a Sprained Ankle: When to Go to Urgent Care

Most components of how to treat a sprained ankle can be accomplished without seeing a doctor. However, in more severe cases, you should see a doctor to eliminate ligament or tendon tears or a fracture. If your sprained ankle is severely swollen, does not get better in a few days or is so incredibly painful you cannot do daily activities, a visit to the doctor is in order.

For more information on when to visit an urgent care center, visit our site.