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RICE Method: The Best Way To Treat A Sprained Ankle


You’re out for a walk when you suddenly hear a loud popping noise and feel a sharp pain in your ankle. You’ve just sprained it! A sprain, or a sprained ankle, is when an injury occurs that strains the ligaments in one of your ankle joints. This strain can happen to anyone and could be from a twisting fall or even from just sheer force. The good news is that with the proper treatment and rest, you can often recover quickly and get back to doing what you love again!

The RICE Method is the best way to treat a sprained ankle. This stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. We’ll go over each of these steps below. Follow these instructions and you’ll be feeling better in no time!

What Is A Sprain And How Do You Know If You Have One

A sprain is an injury to one of your ankle’s ligaments. You might have suffered this injury if you have just strained or snapped a ligament in your ankle. You may have heard it talked about on the news because it’s quite common and often unusual for a simple fall to cause a sprain in someone’s ankle. A sprained ankle is characterized by pain and swelling at the site of injury and difficulty moving the affected joint. How you move your foot will be affected, so a sprained ankle can limit your mobility.

The RICE Method – What It Is And How To Use It

The RICE Method is a way of treating your injured ankle right after you injure it and how to prevent and properly treat a sprain. It stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.


Rest means not putting weight on your ankle, which means your ankle should not be bearing any of your weight. If you’re not using crutches or something similar, then you’re going to have to lean on something for support such as a wall or a chair. You don’t have to keep this up 24/7; when you’re ready to start moving around again (and if it’s safe), do it slowly and take frequent breaks. The goal is to get your ankle moving as much as possible. If you have to use a wheelchair, then that’s fine, but try to keep in mind that you are walking with a limp and your foot is deformed. If you feel pain stopping you from using your ankle or unable for whatever reason, then put a pillow under your foot.


Ice directly after the injury is essential. Hard ice packs on your ankle will do the trick! It can help stave off any swelling and promote blood flow back into the area. You want to wrap these ice packs around your ankle for 15-20 minutes at a time every hour on the hour until the swelling goes down.


Compression is what you do next to help promote healing! Wrap a bandage around your ankle right after it has stopped swelling. This will help keep the ankle stable and reduce any further swelling that might occur. Once it starts bruising, remove the bandage.


Elevation is very important. You want to elevate your foot as much as possible, which means sitting comfortably in a chair with at least one pillow under each heel. Don’t rock back and forth or shift your weight if you can help it, because that can make your ankle worse due to stress points on the injury site and force on the ligaments.

Recovery Time For A Sprained Ankle

You’re going to need to visit your doctor within the first 24 hours of spraining your ankle. They’ll want to see you and can tell from visual inspection as well as a physical exam how severe the injury is. Your doctor may also use an x-ray or MRI scan to determine how severe the sprain is and needs to be treated.

If there’s no fracture or bone in your ankle, then the doctor will probably recommend RICE treatment right away. If your ankle isn’t fully swollen and the tissue is intact, then they’ll probably let you get back to walking as soon as possible. If your ankle is fractured and the skin is showing signs of rupture, like redness or swelling, then you’ll need emergency medical care.

Prevention Tips For Avoiding Ankle Sprains In The Future

Make sure you have the right shoes on, and they fit you properly. They need to have good support and a decent amount of cushioning. If you can’t find shoes that work for you, then ask your doctor about custom-made orthotics or even custom-  surgeries for your feet!

If this injury seems minor, don’t put off seeing a doctor. You might not think so now, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

FAQ About Ankle Sprains

1. How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Sprained Ankle?

In as long as six weeks or earlier, you should be able to get back to normal activities. For some people, it takes even longer than six weeks before they can begin walking normally again. There are people that have been in physical therapy for months, and they were still unable to walk on their own just yet.

2. Can I Jog If I Have A Sprain?

You’ll have to wait until the swelling goes down before you can run again. If you try to run or jog with a sprained ankle right after the injury, it will only make things worse for you.

3. Is It Safe For Me To Walk On My Sprained Ankle?

Yes, and it’s actually recommended! The RICE Method says to rest and ice your sprained ankle and elevate it above the level of your heart. All these steps are meant to help with blood flow and relieve some of the pain that you might be feeling in your ankle. These steps are all important, so do not ignore them!

4. My Sprained Ankle Feels Better. Can I Walk On It Now?

If there’s pain and throbbing in your ankle, then you should not walk on it yet. You need to make sure that your ankle is fully recovered before you go walking on it again. If the pain and swelling are gone, then you’re good to start moving around and walking on your sprained ankle again.


If you’ve sprained your ankle, then all you can do is wait it out and let your body heal itself. However, for serious cases, you need immediate medical care. You cannot help speed up the recovery process, but you can take away the pain that is associated with the swelling of your ankle with the RICE method.

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