Ligament Tear of the Ankle Treatment
All ankle sprains benefit from elevation and cold compresses. Additional treatment depends on the severity of the sprain. Treatment options include an elastic wrap or a splint. After a few days of treatment with a splint and crutches, walking and stretching exercises speed healing. Most ankle sprains heal within 2 to 4 weeks. Rarely, ankle sprains require a cast, or surgery to repair severely torn ligaments.
Treatment options for an ankle sprain include:
- Cold compresses for the first 24 hours
- Apply for 20 minutes at a time, 2 to 3 times per day
- Avoid activities that cause pain.
- Use a walker.
- Use crutches.
- Use a cane.
- Rest should not be prolonged as early mobilization and exercises are critical to shortening recovery time
- Elevate the ankle
- For first 24 hours, to minimize swelling
- Ankle cast or splint
- Aircast brace may be most effective
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
- Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin, NeoProfen)
- Ketoprofen (Actron, Orudis, Oruvail)
- Naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, Aleve)
- Celecoxib (Celebrex)
- Narcotic pain medication:
- For moderate to severe pain
- For short term use only
- Physical therapy for ankle sprain:
- May be initiated within several days of the injury
- Early mobilization and ankle rehab
- Muscle strengthening
- Careful and supervised use of a proprioception board (a 3 inch diameter ball is cut in half and attached to the bottom of a piece of plywood)
For more information:
Ligament Tear of the Ankle Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of an ankle sprain.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- Is surgery an option for me?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- Do I need to stay in the hospital?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Do I need to change my diet?
- Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work?
- Do I need a special exercise program?
- Will I need physical therapy?
- Will I need occupational therapy?
- What else can I do to reduce my risk for having this injury again?
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
Ligament Tear of the Ankle Specialist
Continue to Ligament Tear of the Ankle Home Care
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- Kunkel M, Miller SD. Return to work after foot and ankle injury. Foot Ankle Clin. 2002 Jun;7(2):421-8, viii. 
- McKay GD, Goldie PA, Payne WR, Oakes BW. Ankle injuries in basketball: injury rate and risk factors. Br J Sports Med. 2001 Apr;35(2):103-8.
- Pugia ML, Middel CJ, Seward SW, Pollock JL, Hall RC, Lowe L, Mahony L, Henderson NE. Comparison of acute swelling and function in subjects with lateral ankle injury. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2001 Jul;31(7):384-8.