If you feel pain in your ankle, rest it for several days. Try not to move the affected area.
If your ankle is unstable, support it, especially during standing or walking. Bandages work well. If this does not provide enough support, you may need to be fit for a brace. Crutches or a cane can help take the weight off a sore or unsteady ankle.
For swelling, keep your foot elevated above the level of the heart, even while sleeping. Ice the area right away. Apply ice for 10-15 minutes every hour for the first day. Then, every 3-4 hours for 2 more days.
Try acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain and swelling.
Even after the pain subsides, you will need to keep pressure off of it for up to 10 days for a mild sprain and up to 5 weeks for a more severe sprain.
Once you have healed adequately, you can start exercises to strengthen your ankle and avoid injury in the future. Do not begin these exercises until a health care professional tells you it is safe to start. One exercise, for example, involves balancing on your healing foot and hopping.
For arthritis of the ankle, take medication exactly as prescribed. When the pain and swelling start to decrease, gently begin to exercise the joint again. Swimming is good, followed by stretching. Walking can be added later. Exercises can be done several times a day; but Do not overdo it. Pain is a message from your body to stop.
Call your doctor if:
- You have severe pain when not bearing weight.
- You suspect a broken bone.
- The joint appears deformed.
- There is an audible popping sound and immediate difficulty using the joint.
- Swelling does not go down within 2-3 days.
- You have symptoms of infection -- the area becomes red, more painful, or warm, or you have a fever over 100°F.
- The pain does not go away after several weeks.