A sprained ankle can come about due to the ligaments in the ankle joint being twisted or stretched beyond their means, leading to slight tearing of the ligament fibers. Healing a sprained ankle depends on the severity of the sprain, and in most cases, Healing a sprained ankle starts with the RICE treatment: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. These actions help reduce swelling and promote blood flow for quicker healing. The person with the ankle sprain will also need to keep weight off the ankle for several days or weeks, and pain medications can be taken when healing a sprained ankle.
The ligaments damaged from the injury will heal on their own given enough time and rest, so it is important to keep weight off the ankle and rest it sufficiently in the days and weeks after the injury. Healing a sprained ankle involves a significant amount of prevention: re-injuring the ligaments is very easy to do. By staying off the ankle and allowing it to rest, the injured person is not only promoting faster healing, but also preventing re-injury to the ligaments that can slow healing time or halt it altogether. Many people who suffer from a sprained ankle use crutches for several weeks after the injury to allow the ankle to heal while still remaining mobile enough to perform everyday tasks.
Icing should occur immediately following the injury, and then periodically after that. Swelling can happen quickly, so icing helps reduce the swelling, which in turn reduces pain. It is important to ice the affected area properly: placing ice directly against the skin is inadvisable, and keeping the ice on the injury for too long can actually slow the process of healing a sprained ankle. Be sure to ask a doctor's advice on icing the injury to prevent any slowing of healing.
Compression is achieved by wrapping the ankle with a bandage or brace. This stimulates blood flow to the ankle, which in turn promotes faster healing of the ankle. A bandage or brace can also add extra support to the weakened ligaments once healing has progressed to a point that weight can be placed on the ankle. Placing the bandage too tightly can inhibit blood flow, however, making the process of healing a sprained ankle more difficult. If the foot goes numb or begins to tingle, the bandage is far too tight and should be loosened immediately.