How to relieve ankle pain

How to relieve ankle pain

Ankle pain could be a symptom of many different conditions. More physically active people have a higher chance of injuring their ankle – spraining or even dislocating it. However, old age and/or some undergoing autoimmune diseases are also among the common causes of ankle pain. Any of the ankle’s ligaments, bones or tendons can become injured and lead to painful sensation. Even though pain in the ankle can sometimes be a symptom of minor problems that usually fade away on their own, proper treatment is of vital importance for fast and proper healing and prevention of recurring episodes. In this article, we will take a look at some of the ways to relieve ankle pain. However, make sure to contact your doctor for further advice. There are a number of universal treatments for pain soothing that can be done at home. Some of them are better for the initial stages of the condition (the first couple of days after an injury or after the medical evaluation of a disease) and others – for the later stages. Depending on the condition, the treatments can exclude or include some actions such as walking or doing exercises. With chronic conditions, the pain comes and goes and treatment is necessary to manage symptoms so that the person can maintain a relatively normal lifestyle. In some conditions, the pain is present for a long time and they require special treatment.
Here are some of the most usual ways to combat pain in the ankle:

The RICE guidelines – for sprained ankles, bursitis, etc.

This abbreviation stands for the following four things than can ease your pain and help you recover when you are experiencing mild or moderate pain in the ankle:

  • Rest – To avoid further complications after you have hurt your ankle, it is best to lie down in bed for some hours and avoid putting any pressure on your ankle. If you really need to go somewhere, make sure to use crutches or a wheelchair.
  • Ice – It is a well-known fact that ice relieves pain as it has a natural anti-inflammatory effect and prevents the swelling from spreading. Do not forget to first wrap it in a towel and not put it directly on the skin and do not use it for more than 20 minutes every two or three hours.
  • Compression – This means wrapping the injured ankle in a compress so as to prevent any further swelling of the area and immobilize it to help it heal faster. The bandage you are using should not be too tight around your ankle as this may restrict blood flow and thus cause more damage instead of doing any good to your ankle.
  • Elevation – It is a good idea to raise your injured ankle for a couple of hours, for example by using pillows for support. In this way, pain is relieved due to the reduction of swelling and bruising.

Medication – for easing the symptoms of for various ankle conditions, such as different types of arthritis, gout, Achilles tendonitis and many more

Over-the-counter/prescribed drugs – anti-inflammatory pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, ketoprofen and naproxen sodium are very often used for combating ankle pain and inflammation. The doctor may also prescribe celecoxib which is an anti-inflammatory drug designed especially for people with stomach problems. Many of these medicines can be either taken orally (through the mouth) or applied as cream directly to the skin over the problematic area (in this case – the ankle). You should know, however, that NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) should be taken with caution. They have many side effects (gastrointestinal bleeding for example) and even the ones that are less harmful to your organism may provide for another problem. You should be careful with them and take them for the fewest days possible.

Avoiding HARM – especially if your pain comes from an ankle sprain

  • Heat – Like we already said, ice is the thing to use for ankle sprains. Avoid taking hot showers or baths for a couple of days after you have damaged your ankle.
  • Alcohol – Make sure to avoid having alcoholic beverages as alcohol slows down inflammation healing and pain relief. Also, combining drugs with alcohol is never a good idea. It may trigger their side effects.
  • Running – We already mentioned that not only running but even walking should be avoided. Rest, rest, rest!
  • Massage – It is a myth that a massage will help your sprained ankle. No, it will actually make it worse, so avoid doing that.


– after treatment (that can be surgical or non-surgical), your doctor should recommend a good physical therapist who can teach you the proper exercises to improve your flexibility and strengthen the muscles in the affected area in order to ease pain and also prevent any possible recurrence of the problem. Physiotherapy is a good way of preventing stiffness and regaining balance and control of the ankle. It is the recommended way of chronic pain prevention. It is particularly useful for people recovering from an ankle sprain, Achilles tendonitis, broken ankle, tendon rupture, bursitis and many more. For example, therapists would often recommend some specific exercises with which the Achilles tendon and its supporting structures will heal better. One of these is for example an exercise called “eccentric” strengthening – the person raises a weight and slowly puts it down afterwards.

Natural supplements

– they incorporated plant (botanical) and herbal extract formulations (as opposite to synthetic drugs) that the human body assimilates as nutrients. Their therapeutic effect is world renowned. Try them when over-the-counter drugs are not an option and as additional help for combating pain and inflammation. They have the ability to aid the body in its self-repairing process by repairing cartilage and cushioning painful joints. Here is a useful list:

  • Glucosamine hydrochloride – helps you to move more comfortably when you are experiencing arthritis, builds joint cartilage;
  • Alfalfa supplements – if you have much swelling;
  • Boswellia extract – very useful as it is gentle on the stomach and cures overexertion discomfort;
  • Safflower extract – again, does not irritate the stomach and helps you to build up flexibility and move more comfortable if you have joint pain;
  • Aloe Vera + menthol – their deep cooling effect relaxes the muscles and joints (if you have arthritis or have bruised/sprained your ankle) but its effect is only temporary.
  • Peruvian cat’s claw (Essential)
  • Fish Oil (EPA) (Essential Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
  • Gamma-linolenic acid from borage seed oil

Natural ingredients


  • Turmeric – a natural pain killer with huge anti-inflammatory properties. Great for treating ankle sprains – add a teaspoon of it in a glass of water or milk and drink it twice a day;
  • Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) – relaxes the nerves. You can use it by pouring some of it in slightly warm water and resting your foot inside the solution for about half an hour.
  • Olive oil – it has anti-inflammatory properties as well. Try mixing a tablespoon of it with some egg yolk and applying in onto your sprained ankle. Put a cotton pad on top.
  • Onion – a pretty famous and useful pain reliever for ankle sprains, rheumatism and arthritis. Try applying a chopped onion onto the affected area and compressing it with a bandage to keep it from moving.

There are many options out there you should consider in order to relieve the pain and discomfort in your ankle and build up your strength and flexibility. Sadly, it is not always easy to relieve ankle pain especially if it comes from a hard to battle condition such as arthritis and the treatment sometimes lasts a lifetime. Some people even have to undergo surgery but before considering that, make sure you have tried everything possible and thoroughly evaluate the situation with your doctor.


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