Ankle or foot - sprained

When having a sprained ankle or foot, use an elastic bandage for as long as it brings support and alleviates pain.

About your visit

We have examined you and have ascertained that you have a sprained ankle or foot. An elastic bandage has been wrapped around the sprain. Use the elastic bandage for as long as it provides support and alleviates pain.

You can put weight on your foot when you walk. If you need crutches, we have lent you a pair to take home with you.

When you get home

Contact your general practitioner if the pain does not subside or if it increases

Contact your general practitioner if the pain and swelling increases, or if the pain has not subsided after more than a week.

Take pain-relieving medicine if you are in pain

You should take pain-relieving medicine if you are in pain. Pain-relieving medicine can be bought over the counter. Take only the amount of pain reliever recommended on the package. Contact your general practitioner if you need help managing the pain.  

Use an elastic bandage to support your foot

We have wrapped your foot in an elastic bandage. It is a good idea to continue to support your foot with an elastic bandage, athletic tape or similar until you can walk normally again. Use the elastic bandage during the day. Take the elastic bandage off when sleeping and put it on again when you wake up. If your toes become cold, pale or numb, the bandage is too tight and should be re-applied.

Treat the injury using POLICE

Use the POLICE principle to ease and limit the extent of the injury. Continue the POLICE principle until the swelling has disappeared and for at least two days.

  • P = Protection: Protect the injured area. You may need to use an elastic bandage or athletic tape for a period of time.
  • OL = Optimal Loading: Loading the damaged tissue promotes healing. You may therefore put weight on your leg and move your ankle if doing so does not worsen your pain.
  • I = Ice: Apply ice to the ankle/foot three to five times a day for 20-30 minutes. Wrap a bag of ice in a tea towel, for example, to avoid direct contact with your skin.
  • C = Compression: Use an elastic bandage except when sleeping.
  • E = Elevation: Elevate your leg when seated or lying down.



Once your ankle is no longer swollen, it is time to start doing exercises. These exercises help restore the mobility and strength of your ankle joint. We will guide you through the exercises.

It is okay if the exercises cause a bit of pain, but your ankle should not swell. Plan your exercises around times when your pain relievers are in full effect. If your ankle begins to hurt while doing the exercises, take a 30 minute break and then continue doing the exercises.

Exercise 1

Sit on the edge of a chair with a cloth or plastic bag under your foot. 

  • Bend your leg and drag your foot underneath you as far as you can. The heal of your foot must always touch the cloth or plastic bag.
  • Hold the position for 20 seconds.
  • Then slide your foot forward again.

Exercise 2

Stand with your legs slightly parted. Keep your upper body straight and place your hands by your side or on your hips. If you find it difficult to balance, support yourself on a table or railing.

  • Place all your body weight on one leg and bend your knee slightly, then stretch the other leg.
  • Shift your body weight to the opposite leg in one smooth motion.
  • Repeat by slowly shifting your body weight from one leg to the other.

Exercise 3

  • Stand on one leg and close your eyes.
  • Repeat with the opposite leg.

Exercise 4

Use a chair or railing to support yourself while standing up. Place the front of your foot on a book.

  • Slowly rise up on your toes and then back down again. You can gradually begin to put more weight on the injury.

You can see a video of the exercises on or hold your smartphone camera over this QR code: 

Practical precautions

You can do sports again once the swelling and pain have ceased.

You can begin exercising once your ankle is no longer swollen or in pain. It is important to start slowly and always pay attention to how your body reacts. There should be no pain when you exercise. We recommend that you use athletic tape or an elastic bandage to stabilize your ankle for up to one year after you have sprained your ankle or foot.

Return the crutches after use

When you no longer need the crutches, please return them to us or to the hospital where you got them from. See the address under Contact.

Worth knowing

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