Sprain Remedies

| Modified: Dec 11, 2020
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A sprain is one of the most common sports-related injuries diagnosed. An injury to the ligaments surrounding a joint, a sprain is often painful but recovers fairly quickly. Natural treatment options for sprains can speed recovery time and relieve pain in the process. Apple cider vinegar, ribwort plantain and arnica are three such effective treatments.

What is a Sprain?

A sprain is an injury that involves damage to the ligaments surrounding a joint. The ligaments are strong, flexible fibers that connect the bones; however, when one is stretched too far or even tears, the joint aches and swells. Such an injury occurs when a joint is forced into an unnatural position, such as when one twists an ankle. Symptoms include joint and muscle pain, swelling, joint stiffness and bruising.

Natural Remedies Ligament Injuries

A sprain should be iced as soon after the injury occurs as possible. Elevating the affected limb and wrapping it to limit movement is also important to prevent further damage and promote healing. Additionally, natural remedies including apple cider vinegar, arnica gel and ribwort plantain also speed healing and eliminate inflammation.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar offers a number of medicinal properties including the reduction of inflammation. When applied to a sprain or taken as a tonic, apple cider vinegar delivers concentrated amounts of important vitamins and minerals to the body that fight inflammation and relieve pain. The substance also flushes toxins from the body, offering relief in this way as well.

Arnica Gel

A relative of the sunflower, arnica is a flowering plant with a variety of healing attributes. The compound is an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial and is capable of removing excess fluids from the joints and muscles. As such, when applied to a sprain, the gel relieves pain and eliminates excess fluid that may be contributing to swelling, cutting healing time in the process.

Ribwort Plantain

Ribwort plantain is a perennial plant grown primarily for medicinal purposes. The extract is known as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent with the capability of treating a variety of other conditions as well. The compound also possesses epidermal growth factor, so it is capable of stimulating the repair and regrowth of damaged tissue.

While most sprains heal within 7 to 10 days, some may take as long as several weeks. Natural treatment options can shorten the duration of healing and eliminate the pain involved in the process.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted by Amanda (Ashland, Oregon) on 12/10/2020
5 out of 5 stars

@SJ (2018 post below),

Thank you for sharing your experience. yesterday evening I took a hard tumble walking to the grocery store. Fell on concrete and must have taken all my weight with my right hand. Seemed to only affect my pinkie to hand knuckle, but by night time the whole back of my hand hurt and my wrist. The pain kept me awake.

Came here and discovered your story about ACV. I tried it and the coolness felt great. I applied fresh ACV (to a sock) an hour after the first application and the pain definitely went down. I finally found a comfortable position for my wrist and hand, and slept like a baby. It's painful to use today, so must not use it! Tough, cause I am right handed. Anyway, thank you everyone who shares their experiences here.

Posted by Sj_4162 (Wa) on 01/07/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Yesterday I fell and sprained my wrist in the morning. Come that evening became very painful and was throbbing. I iced it and it felt better for a short time. I looked on EC and found the apple cider vinegar remedy. I cut the toe out of an old sock, saturated it with AC and put it on my wrist. Wrapped it with Saran Wrap. Excruciating pain for 2 hours. Pain stopped and I fell asleep for the night. Woke up this morning with swelling mostly gone and no pain. I was amazed! Thx EC.

Posted by Jovancou (Struga) on 09/21/2016
5 out of 5 stars

Apple cider vinegar really helps in getting rid of the swelling from sprains. Just damp a sock in it, drain it and put it on your foot. Put a plastic wrap or a plastic bag to keep you away from the smell and to keep your sheets dry.

Posted by Diana329 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Pa Usa) on 10/13/2012
5 out of 5 stars

Before it got cool here I was in very tight shoes and my feet were swelling up as they do in hot days. I was taking a break outside work-we have a back yard- about the only way to get back thru the door is to sort of jump in so you do not knock over the small step ladder that serves as our steps.

Anyway the next day I awoke and I couldn't put my right foot down I was in Deep Pain!! I was praying I didn't break anything but I didn't know? For two weeks or more I had to hop on a cane. Everyone telling me to go to the doctors. I am not one who runs to doctors. Make a long story short I found this site and heard about ACV. Next day I went in I {should say hopped in} to a small fruit store near where I live and by chance I asked if they had heard of it and bam the lady said we just got in in!!! I did it twice with the saran wrap etc. It is GONE NO PAIN I CANNOT BELIEVE THIS! ~! I AM BEING VERY GENTLE WITH MY ANKLE AND WILL USE THE CANE FOR A FEW DAYS. Just unbelievable!! Thanks you all for your posts!!

Replied by Kiana
Chicago, Il
5 out of 5 stars

I sprained my ankle badly one night and thought I would be out of commission for a while but remembered the wonderful ACV cures on this and other websites. My ankle was swollen and painful. I could barely walk. So, I took an old sock, cut the toe off and soaked it in ACV. I slipped it over my foot and positioned it on the most swollen part of my ankle. I then took a small plastic bag (Ziploc works well) and cut both ends off so it was just a plastic sleeve and slipped it over the wet sock and tucked it in around the sock so the vinegar would stay put. I took a larger plastic bag and made another sleeve and slipped it over the whole mess. I then took an ace bandage and wrapped over the plastic to keep everything in place and went to bed. The next morning I was walking without pain and as the day went on, I got better. I am shocked and cannot explain how this worked, but it did. And that is all that matters to me. Simply amazing!

Replied by Sylvia
Pretoria, South Africa
5 out of 5 stars


Yesterday afternoon I sprained my right foot and it was paining like mad! I looked for cures on EC (I am EC biggest fan! ) and found a few cures. Not knowing which one to apply, I decided to use all 3 together! I drank 2 TBLsp of ACV then soaked a cotton-wool strip in ACV and covered the area with it for about 20 min. I then applied a mixture of 1 beaten eggwhite with a tsp of salt to the foot. Reapplying every 10-15 min until all used up. My hubby then covered my foot with a strip of ACV-soaked-cotton-wool and covered it with an old sock at bedtime. I woke up this morning nearly pain-free. I would say 70% better! Last night I couldn't touch or stand on the foot and now I could move and walk on it! Thanks to all you guys and the granny from 1888!

Replied by Cat
0 out of 5 stars

I soaked some cotton stips with ACV after reading theses post, and did exactly what you guys did (Acv on the sprained foot, plastic bag, overnight... ) and now woke up with majorly pruned foot. It has been a few hours and is not getting better. Don't really notice a difference in the sprain. Now I have a tingling pain from the pruning and my foot looks just horrible! It is all white and has huge creases everywhere. It is painful and don't really know what to do, or what will happen (blisters all over?)

Replied by Timh
Louisville, Ky, Usa
2109 posts

Cat: Take a 20 min foot bath w/ 1 large spoon of Baking Soda a one of Epsom Salt.

Replied by Mmsg
Somewhere, Europe

Cat, the very best remedy for a sprained ankle (and other foot pains) in my family, is from Pete Egoscue's book: lying down on the floor (on a rug or blanket) next to the couch, putting your feet up on the couch so that your body forms right angles at your hips and knees. Usually about 45 minutes does wonders. Take a book to read or watch a video so as not to get bored!!

Replied by Rock
St. Louis
1 out of 5 stars

I tried the ACV for my sprained ankle and it did not do anything. Instead I iced and massaged with oil, which made it much better within a few days.

Posted by Susan (Lawrenceville, GA) on 03/05/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I was looking for a home remedy cure for my female dog who has urinary tract infection for the second time. I did not want to pay the expensive vet bill again.This is how i found your web site. I hurried to the store to get some ACV, put a tps. in her food and in no time she was back to her self.Praise GOD for this miracle! The same night while i was walking her i fell off of my shoe and spranged my foot to where i could barely walk. I took 2 tbls. of ACV 2 times a day. By the end of the second day i was up and running, literally. It decreased the pain and did not even turn purple.

Posted by Anonymous (USA)
5 out of 5 stars

I thought I had broken my ankle. It was so bad I had to crawl on my knee and my leg and foot were one! My grandmother told me to soak a brown paper bag in vinegar and wrap it around my foot all night. Incredible results. The swelling had gone down two thirds and in three full days I was walking on it again.

Posted by Anonymous (USA)
5 out of 5 stars

As a child I was plagued with sprains. My grandmother mixed apple cider vinegar with red clay, heated it and made a paste. It was placed on the sprain and then wrapped with strips of an old sheet. After an hour the paste was soaked off with warm water and my sprain was healed.

Apple Cider Vinegar and DMSO

Posted by Stephen (Pennsylvania) on 07/30/2013
5 out of 5 stars

I had a terrible sprain or strain of muscles or ligaments in my low back. It was so bad, I was using crutches and a wheelchair to get around my house. Reading of the old remedy of "vinegar and brown paper, " I thought perhaps the vinegar drew DMSO out of the woodpulp of the paper... So I rubbed DMSO on my back and soaked a cloth in ACV.... This combination worked better than the DMSO alone and was almost miraculous in the effect it had. Several such treatments greatly resolved the excuciating pain I was in.

Replied by Elaine
Edmond, Oklahoma
5 out of 5 stars

My husband came home yesterday with a sprained knee. He tripped over a pallet and was walking with a crutch. I came here to see what might help with his pain and healing. I found ACV and DMSO. I decided to pour some ACV in a cup and soak a wash cloth in it. I took a plastic bag and placed it under his knee and then swabbed his knee with a little DMSO and placed the cloth on his knee. About two hours later he was walking without the cane! He said the concoction helped a lot. I am now doing the same and hope it makes things even better.

Replied by Namaw

Vinegar & brown paper works. I first learned of it in 'Jack and Jill'--he breaks his crown and puts vinegar & brown paper on it. Simple remedy.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Helichrysum Oil

Posted by Allie (Flemington, NJ) on 09/02/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Stepped off a ladder wrong and twisted and sprained my ankle. Immediately swelling and PAIN. Applied washcloth soaked with ACV and bag of crushed ice on top of that. After a few hours I continuously applied Helichrysum essential oil. In 2 days I was back to work on my feet. Kept it wrapped in ace bandage with the oil applied first. Had just a mild limp. Swelling went down overnight! Barely a bruise. I've sprained this ankle before, usually extreme swelling and purple bruising and pain for a week or so. Also applied an Arnica cream at bedtime.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Turmeric

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Usa) on 08/13/2015
5 out of 5 stars

One of my grown sons was removing tile from a kitchen. He spent all day using a hammer against hard tile. His forearm was very, very sore when he got home. His face showed his pain and he is really pretty tough, so it must have really hurt.

I soaked a couple of flannel cloths in raw apple cider vinegar and wrapped his arm. I covered that with plastic wrap and an old sock with the foot cut out to hold it all together. I also gave him 4 turmeric capsules (internally) for good measure. :) When he got up this morning, his pain was nearly all better and he is off to work.

Vinegar is so amazing!

~Mama to Many~

Replied by KT

I have to jump in here, MtM.

Are you certain it was just muscle and not bone? This raised red flags for me and wondered if he was getting a good source of protein (eggs) for breakfast and following that with magnesium. I could be wrong, just wanted you to be aware of my thoughts about this!



Replied by Mama To Many

Dear Kt,

Definitely don't know for sure what it was. But whatever it was it is 100% better now. And he eats eggs for breakfast most days. He and his brothers say they feel best on days they eat eggs for breakfast!

Thanks for checking!



Replied by KT

Dear MtM,

I had read that magnesium binds with protein before it is absorbed. I started drinking the magnesium powder dissolved in OJ with my eggs or egg in oatmeal concoction.

If I don't do it that way, I get the joint neck pain and my "arthritis" returns, especially the big toe I wrenched.

Thought I'd give you and everyone here some more "food for thought".

Arnica Comfrey Tincture

Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 09/19/2018
5 out of 5 stars

My 12 year old son sprained his second toe playing frisbee. The first night I did an apple cider vinegar wrap since that usually brings significant relief overnight. However, the next day the toe seemed no better.

Then I remembered I had some Arnica/Comfrey Tincture. I had him apply it liberally to his toe before bed the next night.

He woke up with significant improvement.

Last night he asked for a comfrey tincture poultice, so I doused a piece of old t shirt with the tincture and wrapped his toe.

This morning he is doing well. Not 100%, but able to wear his boots as the swelling has subsided.

I made that particular tincture in the first place because I want to use it as a base for magnesium oil.

I have been using magnesium oil that has been made with magnesium flakes and vodka instead of magnesium flakes and water since it is less sticky with the vodka. (Thanks for that tip, Art! )

I thought, "Why not make magnesium oil with a vodka that is actually a tincture of herbs that is useful for muscle and joint pain?" I haven't gotten around to making my comfrey/arnica magnesium oil yet, but meanwhile, the comfrey arnica tincture is quite useful!

Here is how I did it:
I filled a mason jar about 1/3 full of dried arnica flowers. Then I added about 1/3 of the jar worth of loosely packed dried comfrey leaves. I poured vodka over the dry herbs to cover plus about an inch and let it sit for 6 weeks. (It may have been much longer, actually. 2 weeks would have been enough, though I think 6 is better.)

I strained out the plant material through a coffee filter and labeled my jar, "arnica/comfrey tincture."

By the way, while many herbal tinctures in vodka are meant for internal use, arnica is not to be taken internally. So this tincture is not for internal use.

~Mama to Many~

Arnica Gel

Posted by TAN KOON PENG (SINGAPORE) on 06/22/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Arnica gel for sprains. You can get it from any health food/vitamin store. It is odorless, and is like a tea put into gel form. Jane has used it for years. Once when she was moving she sprained an ankle, and used Arnica on it, and was able to complete carrying heavy boxes and unpacking them with no trouble. It works for any closed injury. (i.e., don't put it on an open/bleeding wound.) It has no side-effects.

Replied by Gwen
Boulder/denver, Colorado, Usa
4 out of 5 stars

Arnica Gel really works! I fell down my stairs & badly sprained my ankle. Swelling, bruising, etc... Had some creme handy, & started working immediately! Read up on regular treatment on web, & said expect 2-3 weeks recovery. My swelling is going, still a little black & blue, pain gone.... It hasn't even been 24 hrs. This creme has Leopard/Wolf bane, Belladonna, & other goodies... Try it, it works;)

Replied by Whiteraven
Chicago, Illinois

Many european and cultural grocery stores (especially latin) sell the arnica herb in little bags among their teas and cooking herbs. Throw this in ceramic oven safe cookery and cover it with olive oil. Put it in the oven on your lowest setting (150-200F degrees) and let it cook for 1-2hrs. Take it out and strain it into a pretty bottle with a cork or cap and label it (DO NOT EAT), because arnica is poisonous unless used in homeopathic doses in tincture form. This oil is amazing! Rub it on bruises or sprains, just not on any open cuts or near the mouth or eyes. It heats as you rub which is great for massage. I use this as a massage oil on my husbands back when he suffers from bad muslce spasms and he is able to walk around pain free all day.

Calcium Bentonite Clay

Posted by Audrey (Tx) on 01/12/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Calcium Bentonite Clay for Sprains

Calcium bentonite clay mud thickly applied and wrapped with plastic wrap is awesome! It quickly reduces pain and speeds healing. The mud needs to be at least 1/2 inch thick and covered with plastic wrap to stay moist. You don't want it to dry out. Putting a brace or wrap loosely over it also helps because stabilizing the joint helps support it and helps it heal faster.

Castor Oil

Posted by Christina (New Zealand) on 02/02/2015
5 out of 5 stars

Hello! I just discovered the amazing healing qualities of castor oil and thought I share my story...

My husband and I went to concert Friday night, where I danced my butt off and severely strained both my calf muscles (although I didn't know it at the time). For the next two days I was in a lot of pain and could hardly walk. I have to say, I found this rather comical--albeit a bit embarrassing--to discover that I can no longer shake it like I used it!

Anyway, last night I had the intuitive guidance to massage castor oil into my calves and lo-and-behold the difference straight away was utterly amazing! I did it again before bed, and then this morning before getting up, and although my calves are still a bit sore, they feel so much more comfortable, and I can pretty much walk normal again! I am completely blown away by how effective castor oil is at relieving muscle strain! Crazy-awesome-cool!

I plan to make an infused oil with healing herbs to have on hand to treat muscle and joint problems, which should help with recovery even more. Will probably make a warming balm as well.

Anyway, that's my experience with castor oil. Amazing stuff! Cheers

Egg Whites and Salt

Posted by Sueanne (Manitowoc, Wi) on 11/30/2011
5 out of 5 stars

My Grandmother, borne in 1888, used beaten egg whites and salt on my sprained ankle. She slathered it all over my badly swollen ankle and in two days, I was walking on it, like normal. It was an ugly sprain and I can only attribute it to Grandma. I recently took a big digger, and the only thing that took down the swelling - salt and egg whites. As the egg whites dry, rub off the salt and 'hit 'er', again'. It's also very cooling.

Replied by Stav


Thank you for sharing. How do you prepare the egg whites and salt mixture ?

How many egg whites and how many teaspoons or tablespoon of salt ?

Thank you

Replied by Tina
Shorewood, Il
5 out of 5 stars

My Grandma had the same remedy, born in 1902. Always helped a sprain.

Replied by Marcus

Can anyone clarify the recipe, how many egg whites and how much salt?