Natural Remedies for Ankle Sprain
Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries treated by podiatrists. They occur when the ligaments surrounding the ankle joint are stretched beyond their limits or torn. While severe sprains may require professional medical treatment, many mild to moderate sprains can heal with natural remedies and conservative at-home care.
In this article, we'll discuss some of the best natural remedies you can use to support your ankle's recovery from a sprain. With a combination of rest, natural anti-inflammatories, gentle movement, and proper footwear, you may be back on your feet sooner than you think!
Understanding Ankle Sprain Causes and Symptoms
Ankle sprains happen when the foot suddenly twists inward (inversion sprain), outward (eversion sprain), or hyperflexes upward. This overstretches the ligaments on one or more sides of the ankle joint.
Pain or tenderness
Difficulty bearing weight
The most commonly affected ligament is the ATFL (anterior talofibular ligament) on the outer ankle. Sprains are graded from 1 to 3 depending on mild, moderate, or severe ligament damage.
Natural Remedies to Help Your Ankle Heal
Here are some of our top natural remedy suggestions for at-home ankle sprain recovery:
Rest and Immobilization
Give your ankle a break! Avoid any activities that trigger pain or put pressure on the injured joint. Elevate your foot to decrease swelling. Consider using crutches if needed to immobilize and offload the ankle while it starts healing.
Icing controls inflammation and limits pain. Apply a bag of crushed ice or frozen vegetables to the ankle for 10-15 minutes several times per day. Always wrap ice in a thin cloth or towel before use.
Gently compress the ankle with an elastic wrap or bandage to prevent reinjury. This limits swelling and provides stability. Make sure wrapping isn't overly tight.
Natural topical gels and creams containing ingredients like arnica, turmeric, ginger, menthol, or camphor can reduce swelling and ease soreness when applied to the ankle.
Oral Anti-Inflammatories and Pain Relievers
Taking over-the-counter NSAID medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin can further decrease inflammation. Acetaminophen relieves pain signals. Use as directed.
Alternating between hot and cold water immersion helps stimulate blood flow to aid healing. Do a few cycles of 1-2 minutes hot, then 1 minute cold. End on cold.
Oral supplements like bromelain, boswellia, turmeric/curcumin, and white willow bark provide anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving benefits from within.
Soothing essential oils like lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, and peppermint can be diluted and massaged around the ankle to reduce swelling and discomfort.
Once swelling has gone down, begin gently moving the ankle through its range of motion. Stretch the joint and surrounding muscles to maintain flexibility.
If your sprain is severe or healing slowly, your podiatrist may recommend supervised physical therapy to rebuild strength and stability.
Wearing braces, splints, or shoes with extra ankle support protects against reinjury as you return to activity. Tape may also be applied.
When to See Your Podiatrist
Make an appointment with your podiatrist if your ankle sprain causes severe pain, extensive bruising, or difficulty bearing weight after a couple days of home treatment. We can provide a professional diagnosis, prescribe medications, and get you started on the road to recovery.
In conclusion, most mild to moderate ankle sprains can be resolved naturally with rest and TLC over the course of a few weeks. By following the natural remedies outlined in this article, you can help control your symptoms and keep your ankle stable as it heals. However, if you have any other foot or ankle problem that requires professional care, don’t hesitate to contact us at New Horizon Foot and Ankle Specialists LLC. We offer a variety of services, including custom orthotics, diabetic foot care, wound care, sports medicine, and more. Contact us today and let us help you get back on your feet with healthy and happy feet!