Sprained Ankle

What you may have felt:

·      Immediate pain on the outside of your ankle.

·      Unable to walk on it due to pain.

·      Noises – crack/pop/snap.

·      You can roll your ankle both inwards and outwards. However outwards is the most common.

What should you initially do?

You should perform the PRICER acronym:

·       Protect: Avoid further injury by using crutches if available.

·       Rest: Avoid exercise until cleared by your Physiotherapist.

·       Ice: Every hour place an ice pack on the sore area for 20 minutes.

·       Compression: Use Tubigrip, skins or another compression garment around your ankle to decrease swelling.

·       Elevation: When resting keep your ankle above your heart level to decrease swelling.

·       Referral; to your Physiotherapist and/or Sports Medicine Doctor. Check with your local LifeCare clinic if a doctor’s referral is needed before your appointment.

     You should avoid:

·       Heat

·       Alcohol

·       Running

·       Massage

What type of treatment is best? 

See your Physiotherapist and/or Sports Medicine Doctor.

·       They will diagnose the injury and provide the best local treatment, and/or medication.

·       Commonly the ankle will be bandaged or strapped to protect from further damage and help reduce the swelling.

·       Some injuries require a "Moon Boot" and possibly crutches.

·       Early mobilisations from the Physiotherapist assist healing and regaining control of the ankle movements.


Then what type of rehabilitation is best? :

Once the pain and swelling has decreased, an exercise program will be given to you by your Physiotherapist. It will include:

·       Balance exercises – improve co-ordination of ankle muscles.

·       Strength exercise – improve the ankles ability to withstand forceful movements.

·       Sport based exercises (hopping, zig-zag running) – to prepare you for sport.

How long until you can return to sport?

The severity of your symptoms determines how long you have off sport, however generally:

·       Grade 1: 1-3 weeks

·       Grade 2: 4-6 weeks

·       Grade 3: 6-12 weeks

·       Grade 4: Surgery - More than 6 months.

Recurrent Ankle sprains are very common, and a significant number of these can be prevented with early treatment and a properly designed exercise program.

Strapping is usually an essential part of returning to sport safely, and is regularly required for up to 6 months after the initial injury.

For further information see your local LifeCare Practitioner.

Click here to find your closest LifeCare clinic.