I Have a Recent Ankle Injury, what should i do?

Ankle sprains and fractures are fairly common from sporting injuries, falls, twisting injuries, accidents, et cetera. Ankle sprains and fractures almost always cause swelling. The most important consideration is concern for a fracture – if you have any concern that there is a fracture (which is the same thing as a broken bone) you should go to an Emergency Department or an Urgent Care center for an x-ray.


Until you reach a doctor, you will want to do the following:

REST AND ELEVATION– This means not putting any weight on the leg until you know what is wrong, or until you start to feel better. If swelling develops, lie down and keep the leg elevated on some pillows. When you get up, you may need to use some crutches. While rest is important, especially in the hours right after an injury, you can and should test the ankle and try to increase activity as tolerated within 24 hours of the injury. Prolonged inactivity can put you at risk to develop a blood clot in the veins of the leg.

Compression -Wrapping the ankle with an ACE wrap may help decrease swelling.

ICE – Ice is a very effective anti-inflammatory. You can ice your ankle for 20 minutes every hour. Prevent ice burns by protecting your skin with a towel between your skin and the ice pack.

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATIONS ** DO NOT EVER ATTEMPT TO TAKE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATIONS IF YOU HAVE A HISTORY OF ALLERGY TO ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATIONS OR ASPIRIN. DO NOT TAKE ANTI-INFLAMMATORY MEDICATION IF YOU ARE NOT SURE IF YOU HAVE AN ALLERGY TO THEM. **
Anti-inflammatory medications, also known as NSAIDs, include the over the counter medications ibuprofen (also sold as Motrin or Advil), naproxen (also sold as Aleve), and many different prescription medications. Anti-inflammatory medications are very useful after a recent injury in decreasing pain and inflammation. Tylenol (or acetaminophen) is not an anti-inflammatory; it may also help with pain, but will not help with inflammation.

Studies have shown that all anti-inflammatory medications carry a VERY MINIMALLY increased risk for heart attack in people with heart conditions. If you are concerned about this risk or have a heart condition, you should not take anti-inflammatory medication until speaking to a health care provider.