Health Tip: Ice a Sprained Ankle

Here's how to do it

(HealthDay News) -- A sprained ankle involves a stretched or torn ligament near the joint. Experts often suggest icing the ankle to ease pain and reduce swelling.

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers these guidelines for icing a sprained ankle:

  • Fill a plastic bag with crushed ice and apply it to the ankle. But first, cover the ankle with a thin, damp cloth.
  • To create an ice slush bath, add water and ice to a large bucket, immersing your foot until the skin feels numb.
  • For an ice massage, freeze water in a small Styrofoam cup, removing the top section of the cup once it's frozen. Gently massage the ankle with the ice, holding the covered section, in a circular rotation. Don't hold the ice on the same part of the ankle for more than 30 seconds.
  • For the first three days after the sprain, ice your ankle every two-to-four hours.
  • Don't apply ice for longer than 20 minutes. Applying it longer can result in nerve damage.
  • Always remove the ice when your skin starts to feel numb.
Diana Kohnle

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