Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Should I massage my sprained ankle?"
I sprained my ankle a few days ago. It doesn't hurt as much as it did at first. Will massaging it help or make things worse?
I'm sorry to hear you hurt your ankle. If your ankle has been improving over a few days, then it is likely not broken or fractured. However, you should be evaluated by your primary care doctor (also known as an internist) to ensure that the injury is just a sprain and nothing more. Taking care of sprains has four components: rest, ice, elevation, and compression (RICE therapy). In general, these maneuvers help to decrease the swelling around your joint ligaments, which become stretched and inflamed with a sprain. Try to keep weight off of your ankle for a few days; you may want to use crutches or simply spend more time seated or lying down, and it will help to elevate the leg on a few pillows. You can apply ice for 20 minutes three to four times per day for the first two days of a sprain, which can help to decrease the swelling. Massaging your ankle should not be harmful, but I'm not sure that it will definitely help. You can apply an ACE bandage to the ankle to help stabilize the ankle, but be sure not to wrap it too tightly; you will know it's too tight if your toes turn blue, your foot hurts, or feels cold. Good luck, and talk to your doctor!
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