If you roll your ankle, the first thing to do is figure out whether it’s broken. If you have any problem putting weight on it, do not try. Putting weight on a broken ankle can cause further breakage and other injury. If you hear a loud snap or you can’t put weight on your foot without feeling nauseous or faint, go to the emergency room immediately.
If you can put weight on your foot, it could be a sprain or strain. You should elevate your foot on pillows so that your injury is higher than your heart. This means more than just a little cushion — you need to get it way up there to contain the swelling. Do this as much as possible for the first 48 hours and even afterward, if there is swelling.
For the first 24 hours, ice your foot for 20 minutes per hour or so. Use crushed ice in a sandwich bag or frozen peas and be sure to wrap the bag with a towel so the ice doesn’t come in contact with your skin.
Also start taking Tylenol or ibuprofen regularly as soon as possible. Relieving the pain will help you heal.
Experts also recommend compression, wrapping an ACE bandage around the ankle. If your toes get cold or it feels uncomfortable, the bandage is too tight and you should take it off and re-wrap.
If you follow these rules, the swelling should start to go down and your foot should start healing within 48 hours. If it stays the same or gets worse, go to the emergency room.
Gradually start putting weight and walking on your foot as it’s getting better, but don’t push it. Overdoing activity can make things worse, as can not moving at all. Listen to your body to determine how much activity you should be doing.