When to see a doctor

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Any ankle injury can be quite painful, at least at first. It's usually safe to try home remedies for a while.

Seek immediate medical attention if you:

  • Have severe pain or swelling, especially after an injury.
  • Pain that gets worse.
  • Have an open wound or the ankle looks deformed.
  • Have signs of infection, such as redness, warmth and tenderness in the affected area or a fever greater than 100 F (37.8 C).
  • Cannot put weight on the foot.

Schedule an office visit if you:

  • Have persistent swelling that doesn't improve after 2 to 5 days of home treatment.
  • Have persistent pain that doesn't improve after several weeks.


For many ankle injuries, self-care measures ease the pain. Examples include:

  • Rest. Keep weight off the ankle as much as possible. Take a break from regular activities.
  • Ice. Place an ice pack or bag of frozen peas on the ankle for 15 to 20 minutes three times a day.
  • Compression. Wrap the area with a compression bandage to reduce swelling.
  • Elevation. Raise the foot above the level of the heart to help reduce swelling.
  • Pain medicines you can get without a prescription. Medicines such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) can ease pain and aid healing.

Even with the best of care, the ankle might swell, be stiff or hurt for several weeks. This is most likely to be first thing in the morning or after activity.

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April 04, 2023