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Sprained Your Ankle? Find Out What You Should & Shouldn’t Do

Sprained Your Ankle? Find Out What You Should & Shouldn’t Do

Apparently, you cannot massage, put hot oil or heat pack on your sprained ankle or it’ll get worse.

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From athletes to couch potatoes alike, ankle sprains are one of the most common orthopaedic injuries, regardless of age. But most people ignore medical care and just brave through the pain until it heals by itself.

But did you know that if you treat your ankle the wrong way, it’ll make it worse? It’ll cause more swelling and you’ll have difficulty walking.

Plus, if the sprain causes more than just swelling, without proper rehabilitation and treatment, your ankle might not heal well.

This could lead to your ankle losing its range of motion and stability, and you’ll likely sprain yourself again more and more in the future. Yikes.

According to Certified Foot & Ankle Specialists, here are three levels of ankle sprains:-

Grade 1 – Slight stretching and some damage to the fibres of the ligament. It’s painful, but you can usually walk.

Grade 2 – Partial tearing of the ligament. It’s more painful and you may have difficulty walking.

Grade 3 – Complete tear of the ligament. This one is extremely painful and you probably can’t walk at all.

(Credit: Certified Foot & Ankle Specialists)

Thanks to @MedTweetMY, they have shared tips and steps to take when you’ve sprained your ankle.

Things you shouldn’t do

A lot of people might be oblivious to this but here are things that you shouldn’t do to a sprained ankle immediately:

Avoid massaging

You should avoid massaging the injured area immediately.

Massaging right after the injury occurs can be very painful and it may worsen the swelling. You can only start massaging the area 48-72 hours after the injury.

Avoid hot compress

Warmth, redness and swelling are a part of the normal inflammatory response so applying heat immediately will only make it worse. A hot compress can cause blood vessels to expand, thus speeding up inflammation.

Similar to massaging, a hot compress is only allowed 48-72 hours after the injury.

(Credit: Freepik)

Avoid applying hot oil or Gamat extract

If there’s a wound on the skin of the injured area, avoid applying hot oil or gamat extract as it can lead to irritation and infection of the wound.

Hot oil/gamat extract is only allowed if there are no open wounds in the sprained area.

Don’t ignore it either

If the pain and swelling are too intense, it’s a sign of a serious injury.

You should consult a doctor, especially if there’s numbness in fingers, dislocated joints, paralysis, and wounds (possibly an open fracture).

Things you should do

Meanwhile, here are the things that you should do to a sprained ankle. You should just remember the RICE acronym – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

(Credit: Certified Foot & Ankle Specialists)

REST it well

Reduce movement of the injured joint and avoid putting weight on the injured leg for the first 24 – 48 hours.

Use axillary crutches, elbow crutches, or a wheelchair to move.

Apply ICE pack

Apply ice (cover with a towel to protect the skin) or immerse your foot in cold water immediately after the injury.

Ice application for 20 minutes every 2-3 hours can reduce pain and prevent severe swelling. You should follow this ice regimen for 48-72 hours after the injury.


Compression is used to provide pressure and reduce movement around the injured joint. This can prevent excessive swelling. You can try wrapping it with an ACE bandage or an elastic ankle sleeve.

However, make sure not to wrap it too tightly to avoid cutting off blood circulation. here’s a step-by-step process on how to wrap your ankle.

(Credit: BoldSky)


Lastly, you should elevate your limb as gravity helps reduce swelling by draining excess fluid.

When sitting, make sure the injured leg is extended and avoid letting it hang down. When lying down or sleeping, the injured leg should be elevated higher than the body (the level of your heart). You can place a pillow under the leg when you sleep.

How long would the healing process take?

As stated by Emerge Ortho, usually, mild, low-grade sprains will heal in one to three weeks with proper rest and care.

Moderate injuries may take longer between three and four weeks.

Meanwhile, severe injuries will require between three and six months to heal as there is limited blood flow to the ligaments of the ankle.

Hence, if you’ve sprained your ankle, be sure to follow these steps for a quick healing process and don’t forget to go to the doctor if the pain persists or feels severe.

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