First-Aid Manual: Treat a Sprained Ankle

Add support and reduce swelling in 5 easy steps.

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For any sprain or strain, remember RICE: rest, ice, compression, elevation. First, have the patient rest. Next, reduce the swelling by applying snow or a hydration bladder filled with cold water.

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Compression: Wrap the ankle in a basket-weave pattern with athletic tape. First, apply an “anchor strip” around the back of the calf. Place another anchor strip under the instep of the foot.

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Next, apply the first “stirrup strip” down the calf, over the ankle, under the foot, and back around to the top anchor strip.

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Now apply a “horseshoe strip” under the ankle, around the heel, and back around to the bottom anchor strip.

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Continue applying stirrup strips and horseshoe strips in an overlapping pattern until ankle is fully supported. Finally, elevate the injury above the heart.

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