A sprain is the short way of saying that you have torn or overstretched a muscle. It occurs when a joint gets twisted, injuring the ligaments that connect the bones in the joint.
Ankle sprains can be caused by running or walking on uneven ground, wearing high-heel shoes, lifting heavy weights and as a result of accidents. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, bruising and restricted range of motion.
A sprain can range from mild to severe. While severe sprains will need medical care, you can treat a mild ankle sprain easily at home with some simple home remedies.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for a sprained ankle.
Applying ice to a sprained ankle can greatly help reduce swelling, inflammation and pain. Ice keeps the ligaments from becoming inflamed and stop any bleeding from a torn ligament. Ice should be applied over the affected area for the first 48 to 72 hours after the injury.
- Wrap about a cup of ice cubes in a towel. Apply the compress to the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat the process every two to three hours.
- If ice is not readily available, you can use a frozen package of vegetables.
Note: Never put ice directly against the skin as it may cause damage to the skin.
To help stop swelling, compress or bandage the sprained ankle soon after the injury. Compression helps control pain as well as prevents further injury. To apply compression, you can use elastic, tape, bandages or special boots.
- Buy a crepe or elastic bandage from a pharmacy.
- Wrap the bandage from your toes to your mid-calf, using even pressure. Do not wrap it too tightly, as it can restrict blood flow.
- Keep the bandage on during the day until the swelling reduces.
- Remove the bandage before you go to sleep.
Note: Remove the bandage immediately if the affected area turns blue or begins to feel numb.
This common spice is an excellent pain reliever due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Also being anti-spasmodic, turmeric relaxes the muscles, tissues and joints and helps reduce swelling and pain.
- Mix two tablespoons of turmeric powder, one tablespoon of lime juice and a little bit of warm water to make a thick paste. Apply the paste to the sprained ankle and then wrap it with a bandage. Leave it on for 10 hours. Repeat again every 10 hours and continue this treatment for a week.
- For quick pain relief, mix equal amounts of turmeric powder and limestone powder and add water to make a thick paste. Heat the paste and apply it to the affected area before going to bed. Wrap it with a bandage. Leave it on overnight. In the morning, remove the bandage. Do this for two or three days.
- In case of immense pain, add one teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of warm milk. Drink this twice daily for a week.
Garlic can also be used to quickly relieve various symptoms of a sprain. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, garlic can help reduce pain as well as inflammation. Also, its healing properties and its ability to increase the body’s strength and energy will speed up the healing process.
- Mix one tablespoon of garlic juice and two tablespoons of warm coconut oil. Gently rub this solution on the affected area. Leave it on for half an hour and then wash the area with lukewarm water. Use this simple remedy three or four times a day for several days until your ankle heals completely.
- Alternatively, mix one teaspoon garlic oil and one teaspoon of almond oil. Massage the affected area with the mixture two or three times a day. Repeat daily until you recover fully. This remedy can also be used for treating arthritis and rheumatism.
5. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for treating sprains. The crystals of magnesium sulfate are highly effective for soothing sore muscles and calming nearby nerves. Epsom salt can be purchased at most drugstores or discount stores.
- Pour one cup of Epsom salt into warm bath water. Stir it with your hand to help the salt dissolve in the water.
- Soak the sprained ankle in this water for at least 30 minutes.
- Do this twice daily for three to four days.
Arnica is widely used for healing and strengthening muscles and joints. It is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent that helps reduce pain, swelling and inflammation. As an added benefit, arnica increases circulation and helps prevent bruising in the injured area.
- Apply arnica essential oil in diluted form over the affected area and gently massage it. Wrap a bandage over the area and leave it on for at least five hours. Remove the bandage and repeat the process again after a few hours. Do this for a few days until your ankle is completely healed.
- Apply arnica balm or ointment as cream or a compress two or three times a day.
Note: Some people are sensitive to arnica, so try a patch test before using it on the affected area. Also, do not apply arnica if the skin has open cuts.