If you have a swollen ankle a compression ankle wrap may help relieve the pain and reduce swelling to help foster healing. It is important to note that this does not protect your ankle from further injury. You can still cause damage if you’re not careful. Please note that the information in this article is not intended to replace evaluation by a medical professional.
RICE therapy is also recommended, but some sprains may require further medical evaluation and treatment, including the use of crutches. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation and there are specific time frames for each. Check with a medical professional about how long to keep rice on the injury and how long to go between icing times.
WebMD.com suggests the following:
- Rest. Rest and protect the injured or sore area. Stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may be causing your pain or soreness.
- Ice. Cold will reduce pain and swelling. Apply an ice or cold pack right away to prevent or minimize swelling. Apply the ice or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day. After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply heat to the area that hurts. Do not apply ice or heat directly to the skin. Place a towel over the cold or heat pack before applying it to the skin.
- Compression. Compression, or wrapping the injured or sore area with an elastic bandage (such as an Ace wrap / ankle wrap), will help decrease swelling. Don’t wrap it too tightly, because this can cause more swelling below the affected area. Loosen the bandage if it gets too tight. Signs that the bandage is too tight include numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling in the area below the bandage. Talk to your doctor if you think you need to use a wrap for longer than 48 to 72 hours; a more serious problem may be present.
- Elevation. Elevate the injured or sore area on pillows while applying ice and anytime you are sitting or lying down. Try to keep the area at or above the level of your heart to help minimize swelling.
Wrap – Step by Step:
To use an ankle wrap, follow these steps or watch the video provided:
- Holding your ankle at about 90 degrees, start at the ball of your foot, wrapping the loose end of the bandage once. The bandage should be snug, but not tight enough to lose circulation.
- After you’ve wrapped the ball of the foot, wrap your foot diagonally across the top and around the back of the ankle. Then wrap it diagonally across the top again and under the arch of the foot.
- Coming up with the bandage from the arch, cover the anklebone and continue around the back of the ankle again in a figure eight until you come to the heel and then wrap it up the calf a couple inches.
- Secure the bandage at the calf with tape or fasteners.