A sprained ankle can impact your life!

Pain Advice Physical wellness Adult

Published on 23rd October 2015

Edited on 23rd October 2015

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You may have sprained an ankle tripping on the stairs. Or hurt it while exercising at the gym. Regardless, the result is the same. It can really disrupt your day.

Typical symptoms of a sprained ankle are swelling, redness and a ‘hot’ feeling when touched. Other symptoms may be pain (or muscular pain), bruising, restricted movement and limited ability to put weight on foot. What may surprise you is they’re all part of the body’s natural defence system. So, what’s happening to your sprain and why does it hurt that much?

Why are sprains so painful?

When you sprain an ankle (or any other joint), your body releases chemicals called prostaglandins. The release of these chemicals is important for causing inflammation (a source of your pain) which helps to protect the area of the injury. Inflammation is perfectly normal when you have a sprain. It’s how your body reacts to the injury. When you sprain an ankle the soft tissues in your body are damaged. However, they also make the surrounding nerves sensitive to more pain. This means you may want to take some pain relief while the injury heals. Nurofen Express Liquid Capsules target the inflammation at the source of pain and are quickly absorbed for rapid relief from pain. 

Managing inflammation while you have it

For minor sprained ankles or muscular strains the PRICE method can used at home to help relieve the pain.

For the first 72 hours after a sprain or muscle strain, you should also be avoiding HARM which is:

Heat: such as hot baths, saunas or heat packs.

Alcohol: drinking alcohol will increase bleeding and swelling, and slow healing.

Running: or any other form of exercise that could cause more damage.

Massage: which may increase bleeding and swelling.

As well as using PRICE therapy to aid the healing of the injury. PRICE simply stands for Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.


Protect the injured area by using a support, with ankle injuries it is advised to wear shoes that enclose and support your feet, such as lace-up shoes. This reduces further damage to the injured area


The body needs time to repair, so try to avoid putting any extra weight on it than necessary. Without rest, you place continual strain on the injury which could lead to further injury – what you need now is muscular pain relief.


Ice is a great way to reduce inflammation. It constricts the blood vessels which aids the prevention of bleeding and swelling. Do not to apply ice directly to the surface of the skin and instead use an icepack or ice wrapped in a towel. Applying an ice pack to the injury for 20 minutes every few hours can help to relive pain and reduce inflammation. 


Applying a bandage to the area limits swelling and movement that could cause further damage as well as providing support for the injury.


Keeping the injured area raised; can help to reduce swelling. It helps blood and fluid drain away from the injury. This approach works best by raising the limb to slightly above the level of your heart.

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Anti-inflammatory medicines help to ease pain

Ibuprofen, the active ingredient in Nurofen Gels and Tablets has anti-inflammatory properties and reduces the production of prostaglandins which can help to reduce inflammation and ease the pain. After a couple of days most strains and sprains begin to heal. However, if there is no improvement then see a healthcare professional.


Nurofen 5% Gel contains 5% w/w ibuprofen. Nurofen Express 200mg Liquid capsules contains ibuprofen. For pain relief. Always read the label. UK/N/0115/0001