How to Treat an Upper Ankle Sprain

An upper ankle sprain occurs when the anterior tibiofibular ligament and posterior tibiofibular ligament are either torn or severely stretched. Ankle sprains occurring below this area affect the anterior talofibular, posterior talofibular or calcaneofibular ligaments. Most physicians and athletic trainers use the "R.I.C.E." (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) method to treat an upper ankle sprain.


Things You'll Need:

·          Pain medication  

·          Crutches

·          Ice

·          Towel

·          Foot wrap

·          Pillows

1.      Step 1

Take over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, to reduce the inflammation in an injured ankle before applying the R.I.C.E. method. Check with your doctor before doing so if you are taking medication for another injury, condition, illness or disease.

2.    Step 2

Rest the ankle by not moving it. If you must walk somewhere, use crutches to keep weight off the injured ankle.

3.    Step 3

Ice the ankle with a plastic bag full of ice cubes or a flexible ice pack. Wrap the ice pack in a towel and secure it to the ankle. The towel traps moisture that evaporates or leaks from the ice bag. Ice the upper ankle in 20-minute intervals---ice for 20 minutes, then take the ice pack off for 20 minutes, etc. Do this immediately after the sprain occurs.

4.    Step 4

Compress the ankle by wrapping the foot with a soft athletic wrap. This keeps the foot and ankle stable.

5.     Step 5

Elevate the ankle. Use pillows to prop up the ankle and the lower portion of the leg. This treatment can be done on your own in any location that allows you to prop up your leg. It is not absolutely necessary that you remain at home through your treatment, but it is best to keep your ankle still and relaxed. Elevating your ankle will help the blood flow in that area and help keep your foot from swelling too much.


Tips & Warnings

  • Help prevent ankle sprains by wrapping ankles with athletic tape before engaging in any strenuous activity. Wear shoes that support ankles. Be aware of your surroundings. Watch your step in unfamiliar locations or any place with lots of holes, steps or other obstacles.
  • Do not add any weight to an injured ankle. Doing so can make an upper ankle injury worse and add time to the healing process

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