How Do I Treat a Sore Ankle?

Bruising is often seen around a sore ankle.
Sprains and strains are common causes of ankle pain.
Compression bandages can help relieve sore ankles.
A sore ankle will take several days to heel, and during that time bruises may appear.
A doctor can provide specific instructions for treating an ankle that is sore as a result of a sprain.
Applying ice to the ankle will help reduce swelling.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2014
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There are a number of reasons why an ankle may be sore. The soreness could be due to strain or a sprain or possibly some type of abrasion during an accident. Depending on the origin of the soreness, you may need to use several different strategies in order to bring some relief to your sore ankle. Here are some suggestions that are likely to be helpful in most situations.

One of the more common reasons for a sore ankle is turning the ankle while stepping off a curb. The turning places stress on the muscles of the ankle, often resulting in bruising as well as some swelling. In order to minimize the extent of the ankle injury, apply ice to the affected ankle immediately. Icing the area quickly will help to reduce ankle swelling and make it much easier for your body to begin the healing process.

You may find that your sore ankle is the result of a sprain rather than the stress associated with turning the ankle. When that is the case, icing the area immediately is still a good idea. In addition, you will want to make use of compressive bandages to compensate for ankle instability during the healing process. Keeping in mind that a compression bandage should be tight enough to support your damaged ankle, but not so tight that the circulation is impaired in any way.


Should you experience a dislocated ankle due to falling or being in some other type of accident, don’t attempt to handle the situation on your own. Instead, apply ice to the ankle at once, then get to a physician as quickly as possible. The physician can examine the ankle, assess the degree of damage, and set the ankle back into its proper position. As part of the ankle treatment, your sore ankle will probably be wrapped in a compression bandage, and you will receive medication to help with the pain as well as expedite the healing process. Your doctor will also likely provide you with specific instructions about applying ice to the area each day, whether or not the use of heat is appropriate in your case, and keeping the ankle elevated as much as possible.

Keep in mind that a sore ankle will take several days to heal. During that time, you may see bruising as well as experience some pain and tenderness. As long as the swelling seems to lessen a little each day, and you find that the pain is also decreasing, there is a good chance you are on the road to recovery. However, if you find that what you thought was a minor sprain does not seem to be improving after a day or two, see your doctor immediately. There may be some additional damage that is not readily apparent, and should be addressed before further complications arise.


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