What is the Fastest Way to Heal a Sprained Ankle?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

Though the condition can be excruciating, there are many quick, effective ways to heal a sprained ankle, such as keeping the injury immobile as long as possible. Compressing the wound with a comfortable bandage and elevating it above chest-level are also helpful ways to heal an ankle sprain. A cold compress is also recommended to reduce swelling and discomfort.

A person with a sprained ankle.
A person with a sprained ankle.

Once it is established that an ankle is sprained, the injury should be immobilized. The injured person should refrain from moving, and instead rest while elevating the affected ankle. The initial first two days following the injury should be spent resting as much as possible in this fashion. After this time period, walking can commence gradually. The aid of a crutch is typically recommended while trying to heal a sprained ankle.

A man with a sprained ankle.
A man with a sprained ankle.

Icing an ankle injury is also considered important, especially during the first two days. Using an ice pack, the affected person should keep the ankle elevated as the coldness is applied for 20 minutes every few hours. This treatment should not be used for a longer period, however, as it can cause further damage to the tissue and even increase recovery time. Icing can also help heal a sprained ankle by reducing the amount of swelling from the injury.

Sprained ankles should be compressed with an elastic bandage.
Sprained ankles should be compressed with an elastic bandage.

If an ice pack or other cold compress is unavailable, people trying to heal a sprained ankle should still attempt to reduce swelling with a cool object. Many people use a bag of frozen vegetables, such as peas, when in a pinch. Others may simply wrap ice in a washcloth, though such a method can get messy as the ice melts. Keeping an ice pack designed for injuries in the freezer can be a beneficial habit to foster.

A sprained ankle should be rested as much as possible.
A sprained ankle should be rested as much as possible.

Seeing a physician can be a very beneficial action to take to heal an ankle ligament injury. The doctor can provide an individualized treatment plan depending upon the patient's symptoms, condition, age, and other factors. Younger patients often heal more quickly than older people do, so older patients especially may wish to seek medical attention for a twisted ankle.

When an injury is severe, a doctor may recommend the use of a splint or cast. Physical therapy may be needed to heal a sprained ankle that is deemed in serious condition. If bandaging the wound is recommended, the bandage should be firm but comfortable. If it is tight enough to cut off the patient's circulation or causes the skin to turn blue, it should be re-wrapped.

Elevation is one of the best remedies for a sprained ankle.
Elevation is one of the best remedies for a sprained ankle.
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

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Discussion Comments

Spotiche5

As the pain of an ankle sprain begins to subside, it is a good idea to do easy exercises. Short walks, stretches, and leg lifts will help you get back to normal and will keep your ankle flexible. However, if your pain persists, you should definitely visit your doctor before you begin any exercise regimen.

Ocelot60
A good cold compress for a sprained ankle is a bag of frozen peas. They are soft and flexible, which will not cause any extra pain. They can also be re-frozen and used over and over again until your sprain has healed.
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