Natural remedies to treat a sprained ankle

by Dr. Jill Kazuk

Looking for natural remedies to help get you back on your feet after a sprained ankle?

While ankle sprains can vary severity, they all have one thing in common – they hurt. I have weathered my fair share of sprained ankles over the years and know how surprisingly debilitating and frustrating they can be, and how quickly I always want to recover.

Here are my top 5 natural remedies for treating a sprained ankle:

  1. Hydrotherapy
  2. Homeopathic remedies
  3. Topical ointments
  4. Acupuncture
  5. Rest
Natural remedies for sprained ankle


One of the first goals when treating a sprained ankle is to reduce pain and swelling. Most people are familiar with the regimen RICE – rest, ice, compression, and elevation. The concept of ‘icing’ is an aspect of hydrotherapy, or water therapy. With any healing approach, however, we always want to avoid stagnation of blood and lymph fluids.

In the first 24 hours, cold water immersion or cold compresses are ideal for reducing swelling in the area of injury. Switching to contrast foot soaks, once able, has measurable benefits beyond ice. While warm water opens blood vessels, allowing oxygen, nutrients, and blood flow to the area, cold water constricts, encouraging fluid to flow away from the area. The cycle that is created by moving from warm to cold applications creates a natural pump, allowing for increased blood circulation, regulation of inflammation, and speedy healing. The key here is to always end with cold so as to stimulate flow away from the injury.

Homeopathic remedies

Homeopathic remedies are my go-to for acute injuries and ailments and I always have a small kit of first-aid remedies on hand JUST IN CASE. Here are 3 remedies I think of for ankle sprains.

  1. Arnica is a key remedy for any acute injuries, especially those that occur from blunt trauma and are prone to swelling, bruising, and inflammation.
  2. Rhus toxicodendron is best used following arnica, especially when symptoms are worse with initial movement and subside with increased movement.
  3. Ruta is a fantastic remedy for torn ligaments and overexertion injuries. Symptoms are worse with initial movement, like Rhus tox, but continued motion does not typically bring relief.

Topical ointments

I keep two ointments in my medicine cabinet for acute injuries – Traumeel and Arnica cream. Trameel helps support the inflammatory process without inhibiting the body’s natural healing response to injury (the way anti-inflammatory medications do). Unfortunately, in the last number of years it has become difficult to obtain Traumeel in Canada. You can order it online or if you or anyone is traveling abroad in Europe, keep your eye out and bring some home for your first aid kit.

Arnica cream is more readily available and, similar to Traumeel, is intended to reduce pain, swelling, and bruising following an injury. I usually alternate between the two, applying each twice daily or more as needed.


Acupuncture is a really good way to get after inflammation and increase blood flow to the ankle following a sprain. The sooner you get treated the better as it’s a lot easier to treat something acutely than chronically.

If you’re local to Victoria, BC you may want to consider establishing care with Lisa James, acupuncturist and manual osteopath, to experience the healing benefits for yourself.


Rest is imperative. While truly the simplest of all treatments, it is often the most difficult. Rest not only allows your ankle to heal faster and more effectively, it also prevents further injury to ligaments and tissues so as to avoid chronic injury or instability.

If you are dealing with an acute, chronic, or recurring injury, there are even more tailored treatments to consider. Contact me so we can discuss what is ailing you and get you back on your feet!