Health Tip: Ice a Sprained Ankle

(HealthDay News) -- When you sprain an ankle, applying ice can help ease pain, swelling and stiffness associated with the injury.

The American Academy of Family Physicians offers these suggestions to help you ice an ankle:

  • For the first three days after spraining your ankle, apply an ice treatment (a slush bath, ice pack or ice massage) every two to four hours.

  • To use an ice pack treatment, partially fill a plastic bag with crushed ice and place it on your inured ankle, making sure to first apply a thin, wet cloth to the skin underneath the ice pack. Use an elastic bandage to hold the pack in place.

  • Soak your ankle in an ice bath by filling a large bucket with ice and water, submerging the foot and ankle and soaking until the area is numb.

  • To give an ice massage, freeze water in small Styrofoam cups and tear away the top section of the cup. Holding the end still wrapped in the cup, gently rub the ice in circles over the injured area without staying in one spot for longer than 30 seconds.

  • Never apply ice to your ankle for longer than 20 minutes at a time.

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