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Health Tip: Ice a Sprained Ankle

Health Tip: Ice a Sprained Ankle

10/31/11

(HealthDay News) -- A sprained ankle involves a stretched or torn ligament near the joint. Experts often suggest icing the ankle to ease pain and reduce swelling.

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers these guidelines for icing a sprained ankle:

  • Fill a plastic bag with crushed ice and apply it to the ankle. But first, cover the ankle with a thin, damp cloth.
  • To create an ice slush bath, add water and ice to a large bucket, immersing your foot until the skin feels numb.
  • For an ice massage, freeze water in a small Styrofoam cup, removing the top section of the cup once it's frozen. Gently massage the ankle with the ice, holding the covered section, in a circular rotation. Don't hold the ice on the same part of the ankle for more than 30 seconds.
  • For the first three days after the sprain, ice your ankle every two-to-four hours.
  • Don't apply ice for longer than 20 minutes. Applying it longer can result in nerve damage.
  • Always remove the ice when your skin starts to feel numb.
Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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