How to Treat a Sprained Ankle



In this YouTube video, Marshfield Clinic Health System looks at the proper way to care for a sprained ankle. Appropriate first aid applied at discovering the injury can make the difference in speedy recovery or having difficulty obtaining a full range-of-motion later.

It’s recommended that a person follow the acronym M.

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I.C.E. to remember which steps to provide care for a sprained ankle. Briefly: M=motion; I=ice; C=compression; E=elevation.

As soon as the injury is discovered, a person should sit, ideally before swelling begins, and move the foot at a 90-degree angle with the ankle. A person can use a towel, rope, or inverted crutch to move the foot if necessary. This motion should be made in a slow, pain-free manner. If it hurts, the movement should not be forced.

Ice in a plastic bag should be applied directly to the skin for up to 20 minutes at a time. Using the ice can be repeated throughout the day if a one-hour space is between the 20-minute applications.

Compression holds the ice pack in place for the 20-minute application. After the ice is removed, compression helps reduce the swelling. A compression wrap should start just under the toes and work its way up toward the heart several inches above the injury. Toes should be squeezed during compression to make sure the color returns to the toe within a second or two.

Elevate the injury 12-18 inches above the heart to reduce blood pressure in the area significantly. Elevation reduces swelling. Swelling reduces healing time.

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