OBJECTIVE: Elevation and intermittent compression are routinely prescribed after soft tissue injury. Individuals must, however, resume activity in an upright position. The effect of gravity-dependent positioning after elevation and intermittent compression has not been extensively examined. Our purpose was to examine the effects of gravity-dependent positioning after elevation and intermittent compression on the volume of injured ankles. DESIGN AND SETTING: Ankle-injured subjects were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 treatment groups: elevation or elevation and intermittent compression. Each treatment lasted 30 minutes. SUBJECTS: Twelve college students with inversion ankle sprains 2 to 4 days earlier participated. MEASUREMENTS: Measurements of ankle volume were performed before treatment and at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 45, and 60 minutes after treatment. RESULTS: Regardless of treatment, ankle volume decreased (by 17.25 +/- 4.05 mL) between the pretreatment measurement and the immediate posttreatment measurement (P <.05). The effects of both treatments, however, lasted less than 5 minutes after the limb was returned to a gravity-dependent position. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that elevation or elevation and intermittent compression do not effectively decrease ankle volume for a prolonged period of time in patients with postacute ankle sprains.