man with sprained ankle

15 Home Remedies and Tips on How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

A sprained ankle will definitely knock you off of your daily routine, not to mention the fact that it is one of the most painful injuries you can endure. We’ll provide 15 home remedies and tips on how to treat a sprained ankle in order to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible. Before sharing those remedies, let’s look at what a sprained ankle is.

In essence, a sprained ankle is a ligament tear most commonly occurring in the outer, Anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) of your ankle. There are three different degrees of ankle sprains.

  • A first degree strain is a stretching of ATFL and is often referred to as “turning your ankle.”
  • A second degree sprain is an actual tearing of the ligament and often prevents a person from being able to put any weight on their foot without severe pain.
  • A third degree sprain is a complete tear of the ligament to the point of making it completely unstable making it impossible to stand or walk without support.

These remedies, though not all inclusive, will provide an aid for how to treat a sprained ankle, but you might need the help of a health care professional to repair or offer support in the most severe cases.

15 Home Remedies and Tips on How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

Rest Your Ankle

The first step in how to treat a sprained ankle is to get off of it and let it rest.

What to do:

  • Protect the ligaments by immobilizing them and taking all weight off of them.
  • Avoid pressure on the affected area.
  • Move around as little as possible.

How it works:
Reducing inflammation and further damage through reducing stress on the area within the first 48 to 72 hours will greatly speed up your recovery.

ice cubes stacked

Ice

Getting ice on a sprained ankle as quickly as possible is the second step in how to treat a sprained ankle.

What to do:

  • Place your affected foot into a deep bath of water until it covers your ankle.
  • Add 6 to 8 cups of ice per gallon of water.
  • Soak for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Continue using ice every 2 to 3 hours in the first 48 to 72 hours to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

How it works:
Ice inhibits the production of the histamines responsible for inflammation.

Elastic Bandage

The next step in how to treat a sprained ankle involves the use of compression, which can be achieved through the use of an elastic bandage.

What to do:

  • Purchase or keep elastic bandages on hand as a part of your home first aid kit.
  • After using ice, dry your foot and ankle.
  • Apply the elastic bandage as shown at this link.
  • Keep it wrapped except to administer topical treatments and then rewrap until the condition improves.

How it works:
Compression with an elastic bandage helps limit inflammation and provides needed support for the joint and ligament while it heals.

Elevate

Another critical element in how to treat a sprained ankle is keep your foot and ankle elevated.

What to do:

  • Prop up your ankle with pillows and or blankets to keep it comfortable.
  • Make sure that your ankle is above the level of your heart for best results.
  • Do this daily during the first 48 to 72 hours, especially at night.

How it works:
Elevating your injured ankle helps to drain the excess fluids of inflammation and speeds healing to the area.

Turmeric

Turmeric is an all-natural, anti-inflammatory herb, which is one of the best secrets in how to treat a sprained ankle.

What to do:

  • Drink 1 tsp of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk twice a day.
  • Drink raw turmeric root as a tea,or use it to spice up your meals.
  • There are also turmeric supplements combined with black pepper available. You can take 500 mg up to four times a day to reduce pain and inflammation.

How it works:
The anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of turmeric are equal to ibuprofen according to scientific research, but do not run the risk of impaired liver function.

Olive Oil

Solid evidence exists for olive oil as another means of how to treat a sprained ankle.

What to do:

  • Mix 1 Tbsp of olive oil with the yolk of an egg.
  • Apply the mixture to the affected area.
  • Cover with a cotton pad to avoid getting it on the elastic bandage and leave it in place overnight.
  • The mixture can be reapplied morning and night as needed.

How it works:
Olive oil contains a number of phenolic compounds that aid in the reduction of inflammation.

Onion

Adding an onion to the list of how to treat a sprained ankle might seem strange at first, but it really does work.

What to do:

  • Chop a medium sized onion that has been refrigerated for several hours.
  • Mix the chopped onion with 1 tsp of salt.
  • Apply the mixture to the affected area.
  • Hold in place with plastic wrap.
  • Reapply the elastic bandage and leave in place overnight.

How it works:
The salt acts as an astringent, drawing the juice from the onion. The juice from the onion has strong anti-inflammatory properties that will increase the effectiveness of the elastic bandage.

three bottles of arnica

Arnica

Arnica is a type of natural analgesic that is a great addition to how to treat a sprained ankle.

What to do:

  • Combine several drops of arnica essential oil in a carrier oil like olive or coconut oil.
  • Massage the oil into the affected area lightly.
  • Rewrap the area with the elastic bandage and leave in place for 5 to 6 hours.
  • Repeat this treatment several times a day until your condition improves.

How it works:
Arnica oil has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties with the added advantage of helping to increase circulation to the area and speed healing.

Cabbage

If you thought that adding an onion to a list on how to treat a sprained ankle was strange, then you’ll think cabbage is even stranger.

What to do:

  • After removing the outer leaves of a head of cabbage, take several of the inner leaves and bruise them with a rolling pin to release the juices.
  • Warm the cabbage leaves to a comfortable temperature in the oven or microwave.
  • Apply the warm cabbage leaves to the affected area, wrapping them with plastic wrap to keep them in place.
  • Leave the leaves in place for 30 minutes.
  • Repeat several times daily for the first few days.

How it works:
Besides having anti-inflammatory properties, cabbage contains plenty of phytonutrients that help speed up healing.

Garlic

One item that is found in every kitchen, and is a powerful addition to how to treat a sprained ankle, is garlic.

What to do:

  • Add 10 garlic cloves to 2 Tbsp of coconut or sesame oil and heat until they turn brown.
  • Strain the garlic from the oil and retain the oil.
  • Allow the oil to cool until it can be gently massaged into the affected area.
  • Let the oil stand for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.
  • Repeat a couple of times daily.

How it works:
The analgesic and anti-inflammatory compounds found in garlic help relieve pain and swelling while enhancing circulation to the area as well.

Ginger

Turmeric’s cousin, ginger, is also an effective remedy for how to treat a sprained ankle.

What to do:

  • Ginger can be prepared as a tea similar to raw turmeric root and consumed 2 to 3 times a day.
  • Additionally, chop a 2 to 3 inch finger of ginger root and boil it in water for 5 minutes.
  • Dip a clean cloth in the cooled mixture, wrap it around you ankle and leave it in place until the cloth becomes cool. Repeat this process 4 or 5 times in a sitting.
  • Use this remedy on 72 hours after the initial injury.

How it works:
Ginger has similar anti-inflammatory properties as turmeric, but isn’t quite as potent.

Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry or black cherry juice is another effective treatment in how to treat a sprained ankle.

What to do:

  • Purchase tart cherry juice or black cherry juice in fresh or frozen form.
  • Opt for 100% pure cherry juice without additives or sweeteners for best results.
  • Consume 2 to 3 times daily until the inflammation subsides.

How it works:
The anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants, which help speed the healing of a sprained ankle are abundant in tart cherry juice..

Massage

Gentle massage is another effective addition to how to treat a sprained ankle.

What to do:

  • Use garlic infused or arnica oil (discussed above) to lubricate you palms.
  • Gently squeeze the inflamed area and push it into the foot or lower leg.
  • Repeat 2 or 3 times daily.

How it works:
By enhancing circulation to the injured area and pushing out the excess fluids, you can reduce inflammation, pain and promote healing.

Epsom Salt

Soaking your ankle in Epsom salt is another tried and true remedy in how to treat a sprained ankle.

What to do:

  • In a deep tub of warm water, dissolve 2 to 3 Tbsp of Epsom salt.
  • Make sure that the tub is deep enough to cover your ankle.
  • Soak it for 30 minutes.
  • Repeat several times a day until your condition improves.

How it works:
The high concentration of magnesium in Epsom salt acts as a numbing agent while the salt works to draw out the excess fluids of inflammation.

pineapple

Pineapple

Pineapple is, by far, the most delicious remedy in how to treat a sprained ankle.

What to do:

  • Add fresh, unsweetened, pineapple to your diet after you’ve sprained your ankle.
  • You can also or drink natural, sugarless, pineapple juice that you make yourself.
  • Don’t throw away the pineapple husks. You can boil them for 45 minutes to an hour and puree them in a blender to make juice as well.

How it works:
Bromelain is a naturally occurring, easily absorbed enzyme found in pineapple. It helps to inhibit the inflammation process and reduce pain.

Tips to Prevent a Sprained Ankle

There are certain health issues that we cannot attribute to lack of proper training, preparation, or care. Things like broken bones are accidents and there are not a ton of preventatives for it. Many diseases follow the same method. You may think that sprained ankles are in the same category, but the truth is, they can be reduced. If you find yourself with frequent or recurring sprained ankles, maybe you need more than just tips to help it heal. Maybe you need to try some preventative measures to keep it from happening! 

1. Prepare for Activity

Are you an active person? I personally hate that question. I am someone who listens to my body. I take long walks when I need them, stretch and do light exercise, but I also know when to amp it up and go full force. This would be considered an active lifestyle. Though I’m not always going 100, I am exercising everyday, no matter what. This matters. Those who only play sports or go to the gym on the weekends are likely to hurt themselves in this way because they are not prepared properly! Make sure you are stretching, getting your move on everyday (even if it is not weightlifting or running), and getting your body ready for whatever activity is ahead. 

2. Gain Flexibility 

Humans are much more flexible than you might expect. Over time, we can really get our bodies to move in ways that seem inhuman. Flexibility is gained by stretching. If you want to avoid getting sprained ankles (or spraining other parts of the body), stretching is your new best friend. Setting up a daily routine, or a routine you do before you hit the activities, is a great way to get your body ready and fight against the risk of spraining your ankle. Stretching has so many other health benefits too, such as keeping you healthy by getting your blood flowing, calm you down, wake you up, and most importantly, prevent a sprain or other injury. Get a stretching routine and see how your body loosens up and moves more easily!

3. Ankle Strengthening

Did you know that recurring sprained ankles are actually caused by weak ankles? Another fun fact: ankles are muscles! How crazy is that to think about? You have muscles all around this part of your body, a part that braces direct contact with the ground and carries you entire body, and they can be very weak. Try ankle strengthening. This sounds much fancier than it really is. You can easily ankle train by some good ankle strengthening techniques online, or you can get the help of a personal trainer or even a doctor. 

No matter if you’re an active person, or someone who just exercises on weekends, these tips will help and hopefully get you more excited to move instead of fearful! Good ankle exercise is important if you wish to be strong and prevent sprained ankles in the future. All of these will preventatives help!

Final Thoughts on How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

How to treat a sprained ankle as quickly as possible is of the highest importance to someone who has been sidelined from their regular routine. These 15 home remedies can get you back on your feet in less than a week, in most cases. If you have other remedies to add or comments concerning those we have hear please share them below.

Images from depositphotos.com and pixabay.com.

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