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Home Remedies for Sprained Ankles: Natural Ways to Reduce Pain and Swelling

A sprained ankle is a common injury that occurs when the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn, usually as a result of sudden twisting or rolling of the ankle. Ligaments are tough, fibrous bands that connect bones to other bones and help provide stability to the joints.

When the ankle is sprained, the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle are typically affected. These ligaments are called the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL), and the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL). The severity of the sprain can range from mild to severe, depending on the extent of the ligament damage.

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Mild ankle sprains involve stretching or slight tearing of the ligaments, but the ankle remains stable and can bear weight. Symptoms of a mild sprain may include mild pain, swelling, and stiffness in the ankle, as well as some bruising. [Read: Unlocking the Secrets to a Healthy BMI: The Top Risk Factors You Need to Address Today]

Moderate ankle sprains involve partial tearing of the ligaments and may cause more significant pain, swelling, and bruising. The ankle may also feel unstable or wobbly, and it may be difficult to bear weight or walk without pain.

Severe ankle sprains involve complete tearing of one or more ligaments and can cause severe pain, swelling, bruising, and instability in the ankle. It may be impossible to bear weight or walk without severe pain.

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Treatment for a sprained ankle typically involves rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). This helps to reduce pain and swelling and promote healing. Mild sprains may heal within a few days, while more severe sprains may take several weeks or even months to heal.[Read:10 Effective Home Remedies for Muscle Strain: Reduce Pain and Promote Healing]

In some cases, physical therapy or rehabilitation exercises may be recommended to help restore strength, flexibility, and stability to the ankle. Surgery is rarely needed for a sprained ankle, but it may be necessary in severe cases where the ligaments are completely torn or where the ankle remains unstable despite conservative treatment. In this article we’ve lined up 10 home remedies for sprained ankle and how to apply them.

Here are 10 Home Remedies For Sprained Ankle

Compression

Applying compression to the affected ankle can help reduce swelling and inflammation. You can use a compression bandage, compression sock, or elastic wrap to compress the ankle. To apply compression, wrap the bandage snugly around the ankle, starting at the bottom and working your way up. Be careful not to wrap it too tightly, as this can restrict blood flow.

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Turmeric

 Turmeric is a spice that has anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce swelling and pain in a sprained ankle. You can make a turmeric paste by mixing turmeric powder with water or milk to form a thick paste. Apply the paste to the affected ankle and cover it with a bandage. Leave it on for several hours before washing it off.

Ice

 Applying ice to a sprained ankle can help reduce swelling and pain. Wrap a bag of ice or a cold pack in a towel and apply it to the affected ankle for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day. Be sure to take breaks between icing sessions to prevent skin damage.

Epsom Salt

 Epsom salt contains magnesium sulfate, which can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Add a cup of Epsom salt to a tub of warm water and soak your affected ankle for 15-20 minutes. Repeat this process 2-3 times a week. [Read: 9 Popular Supplements With Potential Hidden Risks]

Garlic

 Garlic contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and pain in a sprained ankle. Crush a few cloves of garlic and mix it with some warm oil. Apply the mixture to the affected ankle and cover it with a bandage. Leave it on for several hours before washing it off.

Castor Oil

 Castor oil has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce swelling and pain in a sprained ankle. Massage the oil onto the affected ankle and wrap it with a bandage. Leave it on overnight and wash it off in the morning.

Arnica

 Arnica is a plant that has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Apply an arnica cream or gel to the affected ankle and gently massage it in. Repeat this process 2-3 times a day.

Onion

 Onions contain anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and pain in a sprained ankle. Cut an onion into slices and place them on the affected ankle. Cover the onion slices with a cloth or bandage and leave them on for several hours before removing.

Olive Oil

 Olive oil contains anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce swelling and pain in a sprained ankle. Massage the oil onto the affected ankle and wrap it with a bandage. Leave it on overnight and wash it off in the morning.

Cabbage

 Cabbage leaves contain anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and pain in a sprained ankle. Place a few cabbage leaves in boiling water for a few minutes to soften them, then wrap them around the affected ankle. Cover the cabbage leaves with a bandage and leave them on for several hours before removing.

It’s important to note that while these home remedies may provide some relief for a sprained ankle, they should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment. [Read: How to Work Out Twice a Day: Tips for Success]

Frequently Asked Questions About Sprained Ankle

How can one differentiate between a sprained and a broken ankle?

It can be difficult to differentiate between a sprained and a broken ankle based on symptoms alone, as the symptoms can be similar. However, there are a few signs that may suggest a broken ankle:

  • Pain: A broken ankle typically causes more severe pain than a sprain. If the pain is severe and does not improve with rest or over-the-counter pain medication, it may be a sign of a broken ankle.
  • Swelling and Bruising: Both sprains and broken ankles can cause swelling and bruising, but a broken ankle may cause more severe swelling and bruising than a sprain.
  • Deformity: If the ankle appears to be misshapen or deformed, it may be a sign of a broken bone.
  • Inability to bear weight: If you are unable to put weight on the affected ankle without severe pain, it may be a sign of a broken bone.
  • Sound or Sensation: If you heard a popping sound at the time of injury or feel a grinding sensation when you move your ankle, it may be a sign of a broken bone.

Is it okay to walk on a sprained ankle?

If you have a sprained ankle, it’s generally recommended that you rest the affected ankle and avoid putting weight on it as much as possible for the first 24 to 48 hours after the injury. During this time, you can use crutches, a brace, or a walking boot to help you get around.

After the first few days, you may be able to begin putting weight on the affected ankle again, but it’s important to do so gradually and only as tolerated. Walking on a sprained ankle too soon or too aggressively can delay the healing process and may cause further damage to the ankle.

If you experience pain or swelling while walking on the affected ankle, it’s a sign that you may be doing too much too soon. In this case, it’s important to rest the ankle and continue using crutches or a walking aid until the pain and swelling subside. [Read: The Longevity Benefits of Different Types of Exercise]

It’s also important to note that the severity of the sprain can affect the recommended level of activity. For a mild sprain, it may be possible to walk on the affected ankle with minimal discomfort after a few days of rest. However, for a more severe sprain, it may be necessary to avoid putting weight on the affected ankle for several weeks.

What is the quickest way to reduce the swelling around a sprained ankle?

The quickest way to reduce swelling around a sprained ankle is to use the R.I.C.E. method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). Here’s how you can apply each element of the R.I.C.E. method:

  • Rest: Avoid putting weight on the affected ankle and limit activities that may exacerbate the injury.
  • Ice: Apply ice to the affected area for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day. This can help reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
  • Compression: Wrap the affected ankle with an elastic bandage to help reduce swelling and provide support.
  • Elevation: Elevate the affected ankle above heart level to help reduce swelling.

Should a sprained ankle be wrapped while sleeping? 

Regarding wrapping the sprained ankle while sleeping, it depends on the severity of the sprain and the type of wrap being used. In general, it’s recommended to keep the ankle elevated while sleeping to help reduce swelling. If you are using an elastic bandage to wrap the ankle, you can leave it on while sleeping, but it’s important not to wrap the bandage too tightly, as this can impede circulation and cause further damage to the ankle.[Read: How To Lose Belly Fat With Apple Cider Vinegar]

Final Thoughts

It is important to know that sprained ankles are a common injury, but they can be quite painful and disruptive to daily activities. If you suspect that you have a sprained ankle, it’s important to take steps to properly care for the injury, such as using the R.I.C.E. method, gradually returning to activity, and seeking medical attention if necessary. [Read: 8 Home Remedies for Itching in Private Parts]

It’s also important to take steps to prevent future sprains, such as wearing proper footwear, avoiding uneven surfaces, and practicing exercises that improve balance and strengthen the ankles.

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