Anyone who has ever played sports knows the agonizing pain that is experienced with a sprained ankle. Luckily, a sprained ankle is not a serious injury and you should be back to your regular activity level in a week or two. If you want to avoid re-injuring the ankle, be prepared to follow the R.I.C.E. method for dealing with ankle sprains.
Step 1: Rest The best way to treat a sprained ankle is to let the body heal itself. Try to stay on crutches if you have to move, but if none are available, make sure you walk slowly and carefully.
Step 2: Ice In order to help the localized swelling in your ankle diminish, it is necessary to ice the area. Keep a towel in between the ice and your ankle, and make sure to only apply ice treatment for around twenty minutes a session, three times a day.
Step 3: Compression Keep your ankle compressed at all times, except when applying ice to the injury. Try to use athletic tape or an ankle support sleeve in order to keep swelling down and to keep your ankle from moving around too much. It is recommended to wear an ankle support sleeve because these are re-usable and easily removed.
Step 4: Elevation It is important to reduce the blood flow in an ankle sprain as much as possible. This is done to reduce the amount of blood that can contribute to swelling within the injured area. The best way to reduce blood flow in an ankle sprain is to keep the ankle as elevated as possible. Try to keep the sprain above the heart if at all possible. If this is not possible, try to at least keep the ankle above the waist.
Step 5: Return Flexibility Once the local swelling has died down in the ankle, it is important to keep the ankle from becoming stiff. To accomplish this, the ankle must be exercised lightly to restore its former strength and flexibility. Don't rush your rehabilitation; keep it slow and make sure you don't re-injure yourself.
Step 6: Return to Activity As soon as the ankle becomes flexible and strong, and the pain is bearable, you can return to your pre-injury activity. Make sure you don't take too many risks in your activity of choice, and ensure that you wear an ankle support to ensure that your ankle doesn't roll again while the activity occurs.