Sprained ankles are a common injury that occurs when the ankle rolls in or out suddenly. As a result, the ankle joint moves out of place, leading to pain, swelling, and immobility.

An inward ankle roll is also known as an eversion sprain, which is an injury that affects the ligaments and tendons of the inner side of the ankle.

On the other side, an outward ankle roll is referred to as an inversion sprain, affecting the ligaments of the outer side of the ankle.

If you experience severe pain, odd shape, excessive swelling, or an inability to walk, you may want to speak with a sports medicine physician, who can provide you with the appropriate treatment.

In this article, we will cover the most effective treatment to address a sprained ankle.

The best treatments for a sprained ankle

Most athletes are familiar with the term RICE, which refers to the four steps you need to take after a musculoskeletal injury.

Here is what it stands for:

R – Rest

I – Ice (i.e., applying ice to the affected ankle)

C – Compression (i.e., wrapping the ankle)

E – Elevation (i.e., raising your ankle above the level of your body)

For many years, people believe that the RICE method is the best approach to treat all injuries; however, some recent evidence suggests otherwise.

Let us decipher the RICE method and see whether it is the right one for you:

Rest or activity?

According to the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), mild physical activity can be beneficial to speed up your recovery after resting for 1–2 days. This goes against the old belief that you need to remain immobile until the injury heals.

The National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) indicates that gentle physical activity improves blood perfusion to the ankle, which speeds up healing and aids in recovery.

You should focus on the exercises that strengthen the muscles of your calf and ankle; however, keep it mild.


Compression decreases swelling and stabilizes the ankle by preventing unnecessary movements. You need to apply a compression bandage as soon as your injury occurs.

Leave the elastic bandage for 48–72 hours and make sure it is not too tight.


Similar to compression, this step seems to be effective. Raising your foot above your heart level reduces the amount of blood that stagnates inside the ankle. As a result, you are less likely to experience swelling.

Takeaway message

A sprained ankle is one of the most common injuries in the field of sports medicine.

We hope that this article managed to highlight the appropriate methods to treat this condition according to credible science.

Here’s to your health!

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Disclaimer:  This information is provided as an educational service only, and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice.  Anyone seeking specific medical advice or assistance should consult his or her doctor or orthopedic surgeon.