First Aid For Ankle Injuries

First aid for ankle injuries

All acute and chronic ankle injuries should be treated using the P.R.I.C.E. principles (protection, rest, ice, compression & elevation) as soon as possible after injury. This should be applied at home for at least the first 2 – 3 days.

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What are the PRICE principles?


  • Prevent your ankle from suffering further damage.
  • Stop training or playing immediately and apply cold therapy and a compression wrap.
  • Where applicable, use ankle support or brace.


  • Refrain from exercise and try to reduce the demands of your daily activity to encourage recovery.
  • It not only refers to the time you will be out of action but also to the immediate period after your injury.
  • An athlete must know when to stop training and allow the injured area to heal.
  • If you fail to do this, repetitive minor injuries can often result in a more severe injury that keeps you out for much longer.

Ice/Cold therapy

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  • The application of ice or cold therapy to the area of the ankle injury/swelling can assist in reducing the symptoms of pain and inflammation.
  • Cold slows down metabolic rate and decreases the risk of tissue death (cell necrosis).


  • Use a compression support or compression bandage on your ankle. This helps reduce swelling and offers support.
  • Pressure from a compression bandage or ankle support helps stop any bleeding within the joint and reduces swelling, which helps tissue fluids to dissipate.
  • A professional therapist pitchside may immediately apply a firm compression bandage to your ankle. The aim is to prevent swelling in the first place. However, this should be done quickly and only for 10 minutes at a time as restricting blood flow may itself cause tissue damage.


  • Keep your ankle elevated above heart level whenever possible, as this can help reduce swelling. This is due to the effects of gravity helping tissue fluids to drain away.

Read more on PRICE principles.

This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.
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