Ankle Swollen: The Guide to Do’s and Don’ts

Ankle pain is a common complaint here in Singapore, and a swollen ankle can dampen our active lifestyles. It can slow you down, whether you’re a hiker exploring MacRitchie Reservoir, a runner hitting the East Coast Park pavement, or simply navigating the bustling streets. 

Here at Singapore Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic, we understand the need to get back on your feet quickly. This guide provides you with specific do’s and don’ts tailored to Singaporeans to promote healing and a faster recovery for your swollen ankle.


  • RICE it Up: Remember the acronym RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. This is the golden rule for the initial treatment of most ankle injuries. Here’s the Singaporean twist:
    • Rest: Take a break from your usual hawker centre runs and MRT commutes. Prop your leg up on a stack of cushions while enjoying a local TV drama.
    • Ice: Grab a bag from your trusty neighbourhood provision shop (Minimart). Wrap it in a towel to avoid direct skin contact, and apply it for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times daily.
    • Compression: Look for an elastic bandage at a local pharmacy. Wrap the swollen ankle snugly, but not too tight, to reduce swelling.
    • Elevation: When relaxing at home, prop your ankle on pillows so it’s elevated above your heart. This helps reduce fluid build-up.
  • Pain Relief with Local Touch: Consider over-the-counter pain relievers like Panadol (paracetamol) or He*dache (ibuprofen) to manage pain and inflammation. Remember to follow the recommended dosage instructions.


  • Heat Up Your Curry, Not Your Ankle: Avoid applying heat packs or soaking your ankle in hot water, especially in the first 48–72 hours after the injury. This can worsen swelling.
  • Alcohol is a No-Go: Singapore is famous for its nightlife, but hold off on the Tiger beers and teh tarik while your ankle heals. Alcohol can dehydrate you and hinder the healing process.
  • Massage Later: Give your ankle time to rest and recover. Avoid massaging the swollen area in the initial stages, as this can irritate the injury further.
  • (Endure) the Pain: If the pain is severe and doesn’t improve with home care, or if you experience worrying symptoms like numbness, bruising, or deformity, don’t just “tahan” it. Seek medical attention immediately from a qualified orthopaedic doctor.
  • Rush Back to the Gym: We know Singaporeans are determined, but resist the urge to jump back into your workout routine too soon. Rest and allow your ankle to heal properly to prevent further complications.

When to See a Doctor:

  • If the pain is severe and doesn’t improve with home care after a few days.
  • If you cannot bear weight on the ankle and struggle to walk even short distances.
  • If there is significant bruising, redness, or deformity around the ankle.
  • If you experience numbness or tingling in your foot.
  • If the swelling persists for more than a few days.
  • Singapore Sports and Orthopaedic Clinic: Your Local Orthopaedic Partner
  • If you have a swollen ankle and require professional diagnosis and treatment, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Our friendly staff will get you back on your feet in no time so you can resume exploring or living on the vibrant island of Singapore. You may also visit our clinic.
  • Remember: This information is intended for general knowledge only and should not be a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a qualified healthcare professional, if you have any concerns about your swollen ankle.
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