A sprained ankle is the most common ankle injury, occurring when one or more of the ligaments has been stretched, twisted, or torn.  In a minor sprain, some of the fibers within the ligament are stretched—but in more serious sprains, the ligament may be torn. Most minor sprains can be treated at home, but anything worse needs prompt medical attention and may even require surgery.

Use RICE to remember treatment steps: R = Rest I = Ice C = Compression E = Elevation

Rest the leg – You should immediately stop the activity that caused the injury, sit down, and rest the ankle. Make sure to support it in a raised position. Learn about the hidden muscles in your body that are causing you pain.

Cool with ice – Cool the ankle with an ice pack to reduce pain and swelling. Ideally, wrap a bag of ice or frozen peas in a cloth and place it on the ankle.

Apply pressure – Leave the compress in place if it is small or wrap a layer of soft padding, such as a roll of cotton wool, around the ankle. Apply pressure with compression support or compression bandage to help limit swelling. This should extend from the toes to the knee.

Elevate the ankle – Raise and support the ankle so that it is higher than the hip to prevent swelling—and make sure to rest! If the injury seems serious, get to the hospital. Here are 50 secrets hospitals don’t want you to know.