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. A foot sprain usually occurs during sports when your moves in a twist motion and your foot stays in place.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Bruising or changes in skin color
  • Inability to put weight on your foot
  • Pain, tenderness, and swelling

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have numbness or tingling below the injury, such as in your toes.
  • The skin on your injured foot is blue or pale.
  • You have increased pain, even after you take pain medicine.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

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

Treatment for a foot sprain

may include the following:

  • A support device , such as a brace, cast, or splint. These devices limit movement and protect further injury.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and 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 if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.

Care for a foot sprain:

  • Rest to limit movement in your sprained foot for the first 2 to 3 days. Use crutches as directed to take weight off your foot while it heals.
  • 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 as directed with tape or an elastic bandage to support your foot. 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.
  • Exercise your foot as directed to improve your strength and help decrease stiffness. The exercises and physical therapy can help restore strength and increase the range of motion in your foot. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to your normal activities or play sports.

Prevent another foot sprain:

  • 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 healthcare provider as directed:

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

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Foot Sprain (Ambulatory Care)

Micromedex® Care Notes

Symptom checker