Do these for the first week following your ankle sprain:
- Rest from all painful activity. No sports for three weeks!
- Ice. Apply an ice pack to your ankle for 15 to 20 minutes. Do this three times per day for at least the first 48 hours and after doing the exercises and stretches described on this page. Place a dry layer of towel between your skin and the ice pack to prevent frostbite. Secure with an elastic bandage or towel.
- Compression. Wrap your ankle with an elastic bandage.
- Elevation. Raise your ankle up on pillows, a chair seat, or a sofa when applying ice. To prevent swelling avoid having your ankle hang down for long periods.
After 48 hours you can use contrast baths. Alternate placing your ankle/foot into a container of warm (100 to 101 degrees F) water for three minutes and then place it into a container of cold water (55 to 65 degrees F) water for one minute. Do this for a total of 20 minutes or 5 times each container. While in the warm water you may move your foot gently to improve range of motion. Keep your foot still while in the cool water.
Toe Pumps: Move all toes together up and down, alternating 10 to 20 times.
Ankle Pumps: Move ankle up and down, alternating 10 to 20 times.
Ankle Circles: Circle ankle clockwise, then counterclockwise, 10 to 20 times each way.
Calf Stretch: Sitting with your legs straight, place a towel around the ball of your foot. Holding each end of the towel, pull your foot and ankle up, placing a stretch on the back of your leg (calf muscle). Hold for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat three times.