Ankle Sprains

What is an ankle sprain?

Ankle sprains are very common, comprising 85% of all ankle injuries and generally occur when you roll your ankle or someone else makes contact with it.

A sprain will generally involve 1, 2 or all 3 ankle ligaments which are called the lateral, medial and anterior talo-fibular ligaments. Your physio will diagnose your sprain as a grade 1,2 or 3 depending on how much the ligament has been stretched or torn.

How long will it take to get back to sport?

This varies on the amount of swelling and bruising, whether or not you get treatment immediately and what your day job involves.

General healing times are:

Grade 1 sprain –about 2 -3 weeks

Grade 2 sprain about 3 – 4 weeks

Grade 3 sprain about 6 weeks

What should I do after an ankle sprain?

As soon as possible, and for 72 hours after the injury, use the PRICE method:

PPROTECTIt is important to protect the ankle joint from further injury. This may involve using crutches for a few days if you are unable to walk properly. As your pain settles and you start to improve you can progress onto 1 crutch but this should always be used on the opposite side of your injured leg.
RRELATIVE RESTFrom most weight bearing activities.
IICEIce should be used immediately to decrease the swelling and pain. Never apply ice directly onto the skin, wrap it in a wet tea towel and apply for 10 –15min, and reapply every 2 hours.
CCOMPRESSIONUse tubigrip or a bandage to help control swelling
EELEVATIONElevate your leg whenever possible to help decrease the swelling

Over the counter anti-inflammatories include: Nurofen or Voltarentablets. Generally these should be taken the day after the injury and need to be taken for at least 3 consecutive days to decrease inflammation. They must be taken with food to avoid stomach complications. On the night of the injury paracetamol or codeine can be used to assist with pain. If youre not sure if you can take any of these medications then speak to your doctor or pharmacist first.

If you have Voltaren gel or fisiocrem then put it over the ankle and wrap it up in glad wrap overnight to allow the gel to seep in. Cover with a bandage or sock to keep it in place whilst you sleep. This will help bring out the bruising and the swelling more quickly, however this only works for the first 72 hours after injury.

Here are some simple exercises that you can start doing once the swelling and pain have subsided. These exercises should be performed 2-3 times a day.


Stretch your leg behind you keeping your heel on the ground. Hold 20 –30 seconds. Repeat 1 -2 times


Keeping your legs out straight, simply point your toes as far as you can forward, and then bring them back up towards your head, making sure you take the ankle through its full range. Repeat this 10-15 times.

How to get back to sport quickly?

It’s important to get treatment for your injury as soon as possible, to allow it to heal quickly. You also need to strengthen your muscles and improve your balance before returning to sport, so if you are unsure what exercise to do, speak to your physio.

The physiotherapists at LeapBack Physio are available Monday to Saturdays and are open evenings until 7:30pm.

Leap Back Physio is located at 2/439 Burke Rd, Glen Iris 3146 (cnr of Toorak Rd and Burke Rd, opposite Epworth Rehabilitation Camberwell)

Ph 9077 2206

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