Excess fluid in the tissues of the body causes swelling. Ankle injury results in swelling, and reducing the swelling of the ankle will reduce the pain.
Epsom salt baths help reduce the swelling because the concentration of salt in the water is higher than that inside the body. Osmosis causes the excess fluid in the ankle to flow out of the skin and into the salt water, reducing the swelling. The goal is to equalize the osmolarity of the fluid inside the ankle and the salt water surrounding the ankle.
Fill the bucket or tub with warm water. The tub just needs to be large enough to fit your ankle comfortably. Pour enough water into the tub to fully cover your foot and ankle.
Pour two cups of Epsom salt into the tub while the water is running.
Mix the salt into the water using your hand or foot. Make sure the salt is dissolved completely for maximum benefits.
Place the swollen ankle into the salt water. Make sure the water is cool enough not to scald the skin but warm enough to relax the tissues and dissolve the salt. Ensure the swollen portion of the ankle is fully submerged in the salt water.
Soak the swollen ankle in the Epsom salt bath for 20 to 30 minutes. Swelling will decrease during this time, and the ankle should emerge feeling less painful and more relaxed.
Purchase simple Epsom salt at the drugstore. There are a variety of "fancy" mineral salts on the market, but the basic Epsom salt will reduce swelling.
Pour warmer water into the tub if the salt is not dissolving properly.
Mix essential oil into the ankle soak, or use a foot soak recipe for a more relaxing experience.
Don't soak the ankle for more than 30 minutes.
Don't perform any type of treatment without consulting a doctor first.
Based in Dayton, Ohio, Sari Hardyal has been writing fitness, sports, entertainment and health-related articles for more than five years. Hardyal holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communication from Miami University and is pursuing her master's degree in occupational therapy and her doctorate in physical therapy. She is a certified personal trainer with the National Federation of Professional Trainers.