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Treatment for Sprained Foot - What to Do for Sprained Foot while Hiking

By Joy | @Joy

Updated on Nov 21, 2019

Are you getting your hiking gear ready so that you can hit the trails? However, be aware that ankle sprains are a particularly common and painful injury among outdoor adventurers and can occur in almost any activity, including hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, biking, climbing, running, etc. A sprained ankle can cause you to miss out most of the hiking season. There is nothing worse than suffering your first ankle sprain while hiking, but there is no need to panic. The proper treatment for sprained foot can help you minimize pain and recovery time. 

 2019 Treatment for Sprained Foot

1. Assess the Extent of Your Sprained Foot

If you suddenly feel a sharp pain in your ankles, it is very important to take a break and check for any swelling and bruising. If they become discolored or have any swelling, first aid must be given immediately. If you do not solve the problem timely and provide first aid, you will be risking more serious problems, including being unable to walk for a long time during your trip.

Pain when pressing on a specific area or an apparent deformity may indicate a fracture. Severe pain, a pop at the time of an injury, and the immediate appearance of extensive swelling are all signs of a serious sprain or fracture. When assessing, remove boots and socks from your uninjured feet to compare the shapes of your two ankles. It will be easier to spot subtle swelling or deformity.

2. Treatment for Sprained Foot Begins with RICES

The treatment for sprained foot usually begins with RICES, which can help you reduce pain and swelling while hiking. Here I will briefly explain what each of these letters means.

R - Rest

Rest can relieve the stress on the injured joint and prevent you from any further injury. You can eat some food, rehydrate and relax for a while. If the injury is not serious, it may take an hour or two. If the pain is more severe, it is necessary to rest all day. 

I - Ice

Ice will reduce swelling and pain. Apply it as early as possible for up to 20 minutes at least 3-4 times a day. Note that the aim is to use ice occasionally to reduce pain, not to suppress swelling.

 Treatment for Sprained Foot Begins with RICES

If you don't have ice or instant packs in remote areas, consider using other available resources, such as snow or mountain stream. Wrap immediately after ice with compressed plastic wrap, otherwise the joint will expand once the ice is removed.

C - Compression

Compression wrap can prevent swelling and provide support. Cover the wound with socks or other soft objects, and wrap it with an elastic bandage or sticky wrap your first-aid kit. Remember to begin the wrap from the toes, move up to the foot and then cover your ankles with the wrap. Do not wrap tightly as this will affect the blood circulation and the injured person will lose the feeling of his toes.

E - Elevation

Raise your ankles and foot as high as possible above your heart to reduce swelling and pain. Never put any weight or stress onto it. It can be very useful when resting during the day or sleeping at night.

S - Stabilization

Secure your sprained foot and ankles with tape or splint to prevent any further injury. Your shoes and laces can be used to make splints. With your laces, you can tie them above your knees and raise them slightly. Remember to walk very slowly and carefully, and put your weight completely on the other leg.

3. Consider Using Painkillers to Treat Sprained Foot

Continue to take RICES for at least 72 hours after the injury and use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (400-600 mg), three times a day with food to reduce pain and inflammation. You’d better seek medical evaluation as soon as possible to determine if X-rays are needed to examine the fracture.

4. How to Tape Sprained Foot

Once the ankle is usable, adding support with tape, wrap, a brace and even hiking boots can make walking easier and more stable. Follow the steps to tape your sprained ankle.

 How to Tape Sprained Foot

Step 1. Place your foot at a 90-degree angle to the leg. Wrap the leg with tape about 2 inches above the outer ankle bone.

Step 2. From under the arch of the foot, apply a piece of tape to the landmark tape, directly crossing the inside and outside of the ankle bones like a stirrup. Then apply two equal-length segments that slightly overlap either side of the initial stir. As in step 1, apply another piece of tape to hold the three stirrups in place.

Step 3. Apply three pieces of overlapping tape that start with the landmark tape on the uninjured side of the foot and extend under the arch of the foot, pass through the top of the foot and end where it started.

Step 4. Use three pieces of overlapping tape to apply three Figure 8s. Note that you need to start it on the uninjured side of the ankle. Just apply three layers of tape that run under the arch, across the top of the foot, over the inside ankle bone, behind the Achilles tendon, over the outside ankle bone, and back underneath the foot.

Step 5. Look for gaps or spots on the tape to avoid discomfort. You can fill in the blanks with small pieces of tape.


Although sprains are treatable, it is best to prevent them completely by maintaining balance, paying attention to any uneven terrain, and ensuring ankle strength through regular exercise. Don’t forget to share the treatment for sprained foot with your family or friends.

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