How do I Treat a Sore Ankle?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 September 2019
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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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Post 2

To me, there's no pain worse than a sprained ankle. I've never had a broken ankle, but I've had some really bad sprains before. For whatever reason, one ER doctor didn't agree with the standard sore ankle treatment. He taped up my sore foot and ankle with an elastic bandage and gave me a prescription for a strong painkiller, but he didn't recommend soaking the swollen ankle in ice.

He suggested I keep it elevated when I got home, then try a hot soaking bath a few hours later. I did what he said and I did get a lot of relief. I still don't know why he didn't recommend packing the sore ankle joint in ice, but I suspect he was concerned about tissue damage or something. Some people may leave their foot in an ice bath too long by mistake and cause more damage later.

Post 1

One time in college I stepped off a curb and rolled my ankle. I couldn't put much weight on it at all, and I had a sore ankle joint. Like this article suggested, I originally packed my swollen ankle in ice and wrapped it with an elastic bandage. The problem was, I was performing in a play at the time and I needed to be able to walk as normally as possible later that night.

What I did was a little out of the ordinary for sore ankle treatment, but it worked. I had someone buy a styrofoam cooler and some Epsom salts. I filled that cooler with the hottest water I could stand and mixed in a generous

handful of the salt. I plunged my sore, swollen ankle into the hot water and soaked it for at least 15 minutes. The hot water was pretty intense, but when I took my foot out, I found I could put weight on it with only minimal pain.

I wouldn't recommend that treatment to everyone, but it will work if you need some immediate relief from the pain and swelling.

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