Treat swelling of the foot and ankle caused by a sprained ankle by resting the foot, icing it, and using compression and elevation. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can help reduce pain and swelling, as stated by WebMD.
For the first two or three days, apply ice to the swelling for 10 to 20 minutes every other hour. Keep a cloth between the ice pack and skin, and be sure to press the pack onto every part of the swollen area, as advised by WedMD. Wearing an elastic compression wrap for the first two or three days can help reduce swelling. Compression wraps do not offer any protection, and a brace is needed if putting weight on the ankle. Elevating the ankle above the heart for two or three hours a day also reduces swelling and bruising.
Professional treatment and physical therapy are important for sprained ankles. If healed incorrectly, chronic pain may develop due to an unstable joint. This weakens the ankle and makes it more susceptible to future injury, warns WebMD. If the ankle is still weak after rehabilitation, a doctor may want to check it for ligament damage. Surgery is usually recommended to repair ligaments.