Sprain is any kind of injury in your ligaments which leads to their wear and tear. It mostly occurs in your ankles, when you fall and exert sudden pressure on your ankle. It can occur due to twisting of your ankle too or while walking or running on uneven surface. Sprained ankle generally becomes swollen with pain and tenderness around the ankle.
There is coldness and stiffness in the foot and the joint is not able to bear the weight of your body. The ankle joint generally pains while walking. If the sprain is very severe then there would be excessive swelling and the pain would be more and the ligaments would be badly torn. But id the sprain is mild then there would be less swelling.
RICE Approach is what even doctors suggest to treat ankle sprains. RICE means Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. By the time you start treating the ankle remember to protect it from further injury by resting and do not walk for some time. The earlier you start treating the ankle the more relaxed you will feel and it will minimize the pain quickly.
The very first step that is REST means you need to give rest to the ankle totally or partially, depending upon the intensity of the sprain. Try using crutches while walking, till the time it hurts your foot while walking. Give rest to the foot as much as possible, this does not mean that you become immobile walk with the help of braces or stick. You can do swimming and cycling during this period, it would not hurt.
Second thing comes is ICE, ice packs are very useful in reducing the swelling. You can use ice packs several times in a day for 15-20 minutes, but do not extend beyond 20 minutes it might be harmful. You can also use ice slush baths or ice massages; they will also help in reducing swelling, pain muscle spasm and bruising. You can use ice packs for three days after the sprain.
Third step that comes after ICE is COMPRESSION, which means exerting pressure around the ankle. This can be done by wrapping the ankle with bandage or an Ace wrap is good for light compression. Compression is not needed all the time, do it just when the ankle is not in elevated position. The compression is done for a day or two in case of mild sprain and if the sprain is severe then for a week or more. It helps in reducing swelling and bruising. Remember to keep the compression bandage snug not very tight otherwise it will affect the blood circulation to the foot.
Final Step is ELEVATION which means keeping the sprained ankle at or above the level of heart thus reducing the swelling and bruising in the foot. You do not need to elevate the ankle all the time 2-3 hours in a day is sufficient amount of time to elevate. You can rest your sprained foot by placing few pillows below the ankle to raise the level for elevation and this will keep the feet in comfortable position too.