Ankle Sprain Medication

Updated: Jan 14, 2019
  • Author: Craig C Young, MD; Chief Editor: Sherwin SW Ho, MD  more...
  • Print

Medication Summary

Analgesics and NSAIDs frequently are used to control pain and inflammation. Ultimately, the clinician has the prerogative to determine the most appropriate medication. Pain control is the initial treatment goal for ankle sprains.

As previously stated, the use of NSAIDs is somewhat controversial. [57] Some physicians argue that the anti-inflammatory effects of NSAIDs help to decrease swelling, which ultimately increases the speed of recovery. Others believe that acutely used NSAIDs, by inhibiting platelets, increase the likelihood of additional swelling by increasing the potential for bleeding. [69, 70, 72]

If NSAIDs are not used, acetaminophen or other analgesics may be required for pain control in some patients with moderate to severe ankle sprains. [72]



Class Summary

Pain control is essential to quality patient care. Analgesics ensure patient comfort, promote pulmonary toilet, and have sedating properties, which are beneficial for patients who have sustained trauma or injuries.

Acetaminophen (Tylenol, Aspirin-Free Anacin, Cetafen,)

Used for mild pain or if patient cannot tolerate NSAIDs.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Class Summary

If significant ecchymosis is observed at the presentation of acute injury, consider not prescribing for 24-48 h, which may prevent further hemorrhage into the injury site. The NSAIDs listed here are considered first-line drugs on most formularies, but several other agents in this category are available.

Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Nuprin)

Used for analgesia and anti-inflammatory effect; take with food. Member of the propionic acid group of NSAIDs. Available in low-dose form as an over-the-counter medication. Highly protein bound, metabolized in liver, and eliminated primarily in urine. May reversibly inhibit platelet function.

Naproxen (Aleve, Naprelan, Naprosyn, Anaprox)

Used as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory medication; take with food.