The treatment plan for a sprained ankle can depend on the severity or grade of the injury, but it can include following the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression and elevation) guidelines, using crutches or a splint, taking medications, physical therapy and possible surgical repair. An ankle sprain can cause pain, swelling and the inability to walk on the affect ankle. Ankle sprains are categorized according to the injury's severity, which ranges from grade 1 to grade 3, states the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society.
For a grade 1 ankle sprain, the recommendation is to use the R.I.C.E. method. A grade 1 ankle sprain may also require having an ankle brace to help with inflammation and supply some stability for ligaments through the healing process. For pain, a doctor may prescribe medications, states Mayo Clinic.
For a grade 2 sprain, which is more severe, a patient needs to follow the R.I.C.E. recommendation and may also require a splint or crutches to facilitate walking. The most severe type of sprain is a grade 3 injury in which the ankle's stability may be compromised. Patients with a severe grade 3 sprains can require a leg cast or walking boot for a few weeks. In cases where there is a torn ligament, surgery may be necessary for its repair.
When the inflammation subsides and weight can be placed on the foot, physical therapy is the recommendation. Through exercise, the ankle can regain its range of motion.