Ankle Sprains

An ankle sprain is when one or more of the ligaments of your ankle are partially or completely torn. It normally occurs when you roll, twist or turn your ankle in an awkward way.

Ligaments help stabilize joints, preventing excessive movement. A sprained ankle occurs when the ligaments are forced beyond their normal range of motion. Most sprained ankles involve injuries to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle.

A common risk factor for an ankle injury is a previous history of a sprain.

Sprains can be graded from 1-3

  • Grade 1: Your ankle will probably feel sore and may be slightly swollen. In this case, the ligament has been overstretched but not torn.
  • Grade 2: You have a partial tear in the ligament. This causes prolonged pain and swelling. It might prevent you from putting your full weight on the ankle. You may also notice bruising. This is because the tear has caused bleeding under your skin.
  • Grade 3: This is a full tear of the ankle ligament. You may have heard a popping sound when it happened. This level of sprain causes severe pain, swelling and bruising. Because the ligament is no longer able to do its job, your ankle will feel unstable and will be unable to support any of your weight




Signs and symptoms of a sprained ankle vary depending on the severity of the injury. They may include:

  • Pain, especially when you bear weight on the affected foot
  • Tenderness when you touch the ankle
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Restricted range of motion
  • Instability in the ankle
  • Popping sensation or sound at the time of injury


Management of an ankle sprain in the early phase day 1-3


The most common approach to manage ankle sprain is the PRICE protocol: Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation:

  • Protection: Protect the ankle from further injury by resting and avoiding activities that may cause further injury and/or pain
  • Rest: Advise rest for the first 24 hours after injury, possibly with crutches to offload the injured ankle and altering work and sport and exercise requirements as needed
  • Ice: Apply a cold application (15 to 20 minutes, one to three times per day)
  • Compression: Apply compression bandage to control swelling caused by the ankle sprain
  • Elevation: Ideally elevate ankle above the level of the heart, but as a minimum, avoid positions where the ankle is in a dependent position relative to the body


How can Physiotherapy help ?


  • Restoration of full range of movement through manual therapy and the prescription of active range of motion exercises.
  • Advice on whether crutches are needed and restoring a normal walking pattern
  • Strengthening exercises to restore strength in all the muscles surrounding the ankle joint
  • Balance or proprioception  exercises . This is important as failure to restore the full balance function after an ankle sprain leaves one more likely to have a repeated sprain.

If you are stuggling to recover fully after an ankle sprain , feel free to book in for an appointment with one of our physiotherapists. You can book appointments through our website , over the phone 01 2897171 or via email 

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