There are many ways that one could tear or stretch the ligaments in the ankle, causing it to be sprained. Sprained ankles are most commonly caused during athletic activities, but can also be caused by tripping over a rough area while walking. If a sprained ankle is not properly treated after the accident occurs, further medical problems could persist. The best way to recover is to rest and not put further strain on the ligaments. Also, it’s helpful to perform proper stretching exercises once the swelling goes down and you no longer feel pain.
Get off of your feet immediately after you have sprained your ankle. Don't continue to try to walk normally. If you're at an area where there is a trainer or physician available, such as work, school or a gym, have someone help you get to them immediately. For severe ankle sprains, a doctor may advise you to wear a leg brace or use crutches.
Ice the swollen ankle as soon as possible for 15 to 20 minutes. Ice the ankle three to five times a day for up to 72 hours or until the swelling is completely reduced. Never ice the area for too long, and make sure that your leg is elevated when you're icing your ankle.
Wrap an elastic bandage or gauze around the entire ankle and lower calf to help reduce swelling. Wear the bandage until the swelling is gone. Don't make the wrap too tight. Make sure to loosen the bandage a little if your ankle begins to feel colder.
Elevate and rest your ankle for two to three days. When sleeping at night make sure that your ankle is propped up with a pillow or blanket. Make sure to not add any strong pressure to your ankle during this period.
Regain your ankle motion by performing short exercises once your ankle feels healed. Move your foot back and forth while laying down, with your heal on the ground. Perform a calf stretch by placing the top of part of your injured foot on a wall and push the rest of your body back while applying pressure to your heal, ankle and calf.