Home Remedies for a Sprained Ankle

home-remedies-for-a-sprained-ankleA sprained ankle can easily be treated at home with minimal cost and quick recovery.  Home remedies can help to reduce pain and promote healing.


The most common protocol is called RICE which is an acronym for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.  Rest is needed to allow the injured ligaments to heal.  You should avoid excessive movement and weight bearing which can exacerbate the injury.  Minimize movement for the first 48 hours after the injury.

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During this time the ankle should be iced to help reduce the swelling.  Ice is also helpful to reduce the pain.  Ice should be applied for 20 minutes at a time, 4 to 8 times a day.  Do not apply ice directly to skin – make sure there is a layer of material to protect the skin.

When you are not icing the injury, compression will help to minimize the swelling.  Elastic bandages and braces can be used to apply compression.  Finally, the injured ankle should be elevated above your heart to help blood flow which will also minimize swelling.


Another option is the H.E.M. method which stands for healthy blood flow, eliminate swelling, and mobility. H.E.M is a three-step rehabilitation system which can reduce healing time and speed recovery. The goal of the program is to break down scar tissue in the ankle resulting in increased flexibility.

This flexibility prevents stiffness which allows for a shorter recovery time. Healthy blood flow allows healing immune cells to remove the waste and debris that collect in the ankle as a result of the sprain.  Elimination of swelling helps to remove scar tissue which causes stiffness and prevents full range of motion.

Mobility increases the strength and stability of the ankle and allows the injury to heal for a full recovery.  The H.E.M. program can be done at home in about 30 minutes and does not require any special equipment. For faster recovery, it is recommended that you perform the three steps once or twice a day.


Anti-inflammatories are used to reduce inflammation which can help relieve pain.  The most common anti-inflammatory drugs are NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs). These include ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin.

Some doctors believe that NSAIDs increase swelling by increasing the potential for bleeding.  If this is a concern or if you cannot tolerate NSAIDs, it is recommended that you take acetaminophen to control the pain.

In most cases prescription drugs are not required for a sprained ankle.

Epsom Salt

Crystals of magnesium sulfate, commonly known as Epsom salt, can help reduce pain and swelling by calming the affected nerves and reducing fluid that has accumulated in the damaged tissues.

To use Epsom salt as treatment for a sprained ankle, pour one cup of Epsom salt into warm water in a tub or bucket.  Stir to dissolve the salt then soak the ankle for at least 30 minutes.  This should be done twice daily until the pain and swelling subside.


Arnica is a widely used homeopathic treatment for healing and strengthening muscles and joints.  It improves circulation and has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation.  Arnica is sold as a cream, gel, or oil and is applied topically to the affected area.


Turmeric is a root in the ginger family that has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory.  It helps to relax the muscles, tissues and joints promoting a reduction in swelling and pain.  Turmeric can be taken orally or applied topically.

To take orally, mix one teaspoon of powdered turmeric in a glass of warm milk and drink twice daily.  To apply topically, mix turmeric with water and lime juice to create a thick paste.  Apply paste to the affected area and wrap with a bandage.  Remove bandage and reapply every 10 hours.


Garlic is another homeopathic remedy often used to treat sprains and inflammation.  In this case, it is best used topically.  Mix garlic juice with a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil and massage into the affected area throughout the day as discomfort dictates.

Tips for Self-Healing

Whatever method you choose to heal your sprained ankle, consistency in treatment is key.  It is important to give your body enough time to heal before resuming normal activity.

If you don’t follow through with treatment, it’s possible to cause more damage to the injured ligaments and recovery time will be increased.  Give your body the time and rest it needs to heal and you will prevent further and future injuries.

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