The motion of the ankle is controlled by muscles attached to ligaments. If you step sideways on your foot, it can stress one or more ligaments, causing the small tears that cause a sprained ankle. Sprained ankles are common injuries in games like soccer and football; however, they can happen in a game of golf, on a walk or anywhere else you can step wrong or stumble.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Get a doctor's examination. Even if your ankle only feels a little tender, you may have broken bones in your foot without knowing it, so get it checked out to rule out serious injury. If you are in severe pain or can't move your foot, go to the doctor immediately.
Go home, elevate and ice the ankle. Apply ice on the part of your ankle that hurts for twenty minutes at a time, four times a day for the first two days. For the first day, also keep your ankle above the level of your heart as much as possible.
Wear a brace or a splint on your ankle and walk with crutches if it hurts to put weight on it. If your ankle is only slightly tender, still refrain from sports and walk as little as possible for two days to give it time to heal.
Wrap an elastic bandage around your ankle and wear it for the first 24 hours. It should be snug but not tight enough to cut off blood flow. This will help stop swelling, but won't protect your ankle from injury, so you will have to wear a brace with it.
Take NSAID painkillers such as aspirin for at least the first 24 hours. These will relieve pain and reduce swelling in your ankle.
As soon as the swelling and pain decrease, start doing rehabilitation exercises. Sit in a chair and trace the alphabet on the floor with your toe as a way to exercise your ankle. Then plant your foot flat on the floor and swing your knee side-to-side while sitting. As soon as you can, gradually start to put more weight on your foot while walking until you can walk without crutches.