I'm treating my own ankle sprain at home following my doctor's advice. Every day I use a tape measure to see if the swelling is going down. Is this really accurate?

Your results may depend on how you use the tape measurer. A standard way to assess swelling at the ankle is to wrap a tape measure around the foot and ankle in a figure 8. The advantage of this method is that it gives a standard way to measure each time.

By comparing one day to another or one week to another, you can see if there has been any change. You can measure both ankles and compare the injured ankle to the uninjured leg. The disadvantage is that you are really measuring the ankle and the foot with the figure-8 method.