Skip to Content

Foot Sprain


A foot sprain is caused by a stretched or torn ligament in the foot or toe. Ligaments are tough tissues that connect bones.


Care for your foot:

  • Rest your foot. Limit movement in your sprained foot for the first 2 to 3 days. You might need crutches to take weight off your injured foot as it heals. Use crutches as directed.
    Walking with Crutches

  • Apply ice on your foot for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel. Ice helps prevent tissue damage and decreases swelling and pain.

  • Compress your foot. You may need to use tape or an elastic bandage to support your foot if you have a mild sprain. You may need a splint on your foot for support if your sprain is severe. Wear your splint for as many days as directed.

  • Elevate your foot above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your foot on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.


  • NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your primary healthcare provider (PHP) if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.

  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your PHP if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Exercise your foot:

You may be given exercises to improve your strength and to help decrease stiffness. The exercises and physical therapy can help restore strength and increase the range of motion in your foot. Ask your PHP when you can return to your normal activities or play sports.

Prevent another injury:

  • Warm up and stretch before you exercise.

  • Do not exercise when you feel pain or are tired.

  • Wear equipment to protect yourself when you play sports.

Follow up with your PHP as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your PHP if:

  • The skin on your injured foot looks bluish or pale.

  • You have new weakness or numbness in your foot. It may tingle or burn.

  • You have new or increased swelling or pain in your foot.

  • You have new or increased stiffness when you move your injured foot.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.