What is the role of NSAIDs in the treatment of ankle sprains?

Updated: Jan 14, 2019
  • Author: Craig C Young, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
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The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in treating sprains is somewhat controversial. [69] Some physicians argue that the anti-inflammatory effects of NSAIDs are helpful in decreasing swelling, which ultimately increases the speed of recovery. Others believe that acutely used NSAIDs can lead to increased swelling if, owing to platelet inhibition, bleeding occurs. [69, 70]  However, a recent meta-analysis of 46 papers found that there was strong evidence that use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs resulted in better control of pain, reduction of swelling and improved function after an acute sprain. [71]

If NSAIDs are not used, acetaminophen (Tylenol, Panadol, Anacin Aspirin Free) or other pain medicines may be required for pain control in some athletes with moderate to severe ankle sprains. [72]

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