How is an ankle sprain treated?
At Children’s Hospital Colorado, ankle sprains are treated using the P.R.I.C.E. model for the first few days following the injury and as needed while recovering.
- Protection – Immobilize the injured ankle to protect it from further injury. If necessary, your child’s doctor will place a cast or brace around the sprained ankle.
- Rest - Avoid any activity that increases pain. Your child can use crutches if weight bearing is not comfortable.
- Ice - Applying ice to the injured ankle helps to reduce swelling, pain and bruising. Apply an ice pack to the ankle for 15 minutes at a time. Wait another 30 minutes and reapply. You should do this for the first three days following the injury and as needed after to control swelling.
- Compression - To reduce swelling and provide stability, you can wrap your child’s ankle with an elastic bandage. Start the wrap at the toes and work up to the calf. The wrap should be tight, but not hinder circulation.
- Elevation - Raising the ankle to or above the level of your child’s heart will help reduce swelling.
Your physician will determine if formal physical therapy is needed for the patient to properly recover and safely return to sports. Stretches and exercises will be advised to help increase range of motion and restore strength to the joint. Your physician or physical therapist will release the patient to perform full activities once he or she has full range of motion of the ankle, minimal pain, full strength and can fully perform sport-specific skills. Learn more about our Sports Medicine Program for Young Athletes that treats sprained ankles.