What information about ankle sprains should patients receive?

Updated: Jan 14, 2019
  • Author: Craig C Young, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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Review the self-care techniques of acute sprain with patients so that they can take an active part in their care. Teach them the mnemonic PRICES, as follows:

  • Protection

  • Relative rest

  • Ice

  • Compression

  • Elevation

  • Support

Provide patients with information on when to call for advice. Instruct them to call a doctor or nurse if one of the following conditions is observed:

  • The joint is wobbly or moves past its normal ROM

  • The bone is deformed or bends abnormally

  • Pain prevents putting weight on the injured area after 24 hours

  • Weight-bearing still is difficult after 4 days

  • Extreme pain, bruising, or severe swelling is present

  • The toes below the injury feel cold to the touch or become numb or blue

These instructions can be tailored to each practice and by no means should be construed as all-inclusive.

For patient education resources, see the patient education articles Ankle Sprain and Sprains and Strains.

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