Sprained ankle or foot

When you have you have a sprained ankle or foot an elastic bandage has been wrapped around the sprain.

About your visit

We have examined you and have ascertained that you have a sprained ankle or foot. An elastic bandage has been wrapped around the sprain. Use the elastic bandage for as long as it provides support and alleviates pain.

You can put weight on your foot when you walk. If you need crutches, we have lent you a pair to take home with you.

When you get home

Contact your general practitioner if the pain does not subside or if it increases

Contact your general practitioner if the pain and swelling increases, or if the pain has not subsided after more than a week.

Take pain-relieving medicine if you are in pain

You should take pain-relieving medicine if you are in pain. Pain relievers can be bought at a pharmacy either over the counter or by prescription. Take only the amount of pain reliever recommended on the package. Contact your general practitioner if you need help managing the pain.

Use an elastic bandage to support your foot

It is a good idea to support your foot with an elastic bandage, athletic tape or similar until you can walk normally again. Take the elastic bandage off when you go to bed and put it on again when you wake up. If your toes become cold, pale or numb, the bandage is too tight and should be re-applied

Treat the injury using POLICE

Use the POLICE principle to ease and limit the extent of the injury. Continue the POLICE principle until the swelling has disappeared and for at least two days.

  • P = Protection: Protect the injured area. You may need to use an elastic bandage or athletic tape for a period of time.
  • OL = Optimal Loading: Loading the damaged tissue promotes healing. You may therefore put weight on your leg and move your ankle if doing so does not worsen your pain.
  • I = Ice: Apply ice to the ankle/foot three to five times a day for 20-30 minutes. Wrap a bag of ice in a tea towel, for example, to avoid direct contact with your skin.
  • C = Compression: Use an elastic bandage except when sleeping.
  • E = Elevation: Elevate your leg when seated or lying down.



Once your ankle is no longer swollen, it is time to start doing exercises. These exercises help restore the mobility and strength of your ankle joint. We will introduce you to the exercises.

Complete the exercises five times a day and repeat each exercise three to five times. It is okay if the exercises cause a bit of pain, but your ankle should not swell. If your ankle begins to hurt while doing the exercises, take a 30 minute break and then continue doing the exercises.

Exercise 1

Sit on the edge of a chair with a cloth or plastic bag under your foot. 

  • Bend your leg and drag your foot underneath you as far as you can. The heal of your foot must always touch the cloth or plastic bag.
  • Hold the position for 20 seconds.
  • Then slide your foot forward again.
Illustration af øvelse

Exercise 2

Stand with your legs slightly parted. Keep your upper body straight and place your hands by your side or on your hips. If you find it difficult to balance, support yourself on a table or railing.

  • Place all your body weight on one leg and bend your knee slightly, then stretch the other leg.
  • Shift your body weight to the opposite leg in one smooth motion.
  • Repeat by slowly shifting your body weight from one leg to the other.
Illustration af øvelse

Exercise 3

  • Stand on one leg and close your eyes.
Illustration af øvelse

Exercise 4

Sit on a table or high chair.

  • Slowly raise the outer side of your foot, then bring it back down.

Exercise 5

Use a chair or railing to support yourself while standing up. Place the front of your foot on a book.

  • Slowly rise up on your toes and then back down again. You can gradually begin to put more weight on the injury.
Illustration af øvelse

You can do sports again once the swelling and pain have ceased.

You can begin exercising once your ankle is no longer swollen or in pain. It is important to start slowly and always pay attention to how your body reacts. There should be no pain when you exercise. We recommend that you use athletic tape or an elastic bandage to stabilize your ankle for up to one year after you have sprained your ankle or foot.

Worth knowing

Check your medical journal and test results

You can check your medical journal, health data and any test results at www.minsundhedsplatform.dk and www.sundhed.dk. They are both available as apps: MinSP and MinSundhed. Log on to the apps with your MitID.

We will notify your doctor

We will send information about your visit to the hospital to your general practitioner. Let us know if you do not want your general practitioner to receive information from the hospital.

Your personal data

The Capital Region of Denmark uses the personal data you share with us when you make an enquiry. You can read more about how we use your data and your rights on our website: www.regionh.dk/persondatapolitik (in Danish only).