Ice can help ease the pain and swelling of a sprained ankle, but it’s important to use the therapy properly.
The American Academy of Family Physicians suggests:
- Never apply ice for longer than 20 minutes. Always remove ice if the area starts to feel numb.
- For the first three days after a sprain, ice the ankle every two-to-four hours. Use an ice pack, ice slush bath or ice massage.
- For an ice pack, partially fill a plastic bag with crushed ice. With a towel or cloth over the skin, apply the pack and wrap it with an elastic bandage.
- For an ice slush bath, submerge the ankle into a bucket filled with ice and water.
- For an ice massage, use small styrofoam cups. Fill them with water and freeze them until solid. Remove the top section from the cup, then gently rub the ice around your ankle in circles, holding for no more than 30 seconds in each area.