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Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain – or going over on your ankle – is one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries. It can result in damage to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle and it usually occurs when the ankle is turned in and pointed down with the forefoot taking the weight.

Ligaments are strong tissues around joints which attach bones together to provide support and approximately 75% of ankle injuries involve the ligaments shown in the picture below.

Ankle sprain diagram


Generally speaking, ankle sprains usually heal well, and most people will be able to get back to normal activities within 6 to 8 weeks. It is important however to make sure that the muscles and ligaments are strong enough to allow you to go back to full activity.

One of the biggest risk factors to an ankle sprain is a previous ankle sprain that has not had the appropriate rehabilitation.

You may see some bruising and swelling in the early stages along with the pain, and find it difficult to walk normally. An Xray is not always required unless there is tenderness in the bone at the outside of the ankle or foot OR, you cannot walk for 4 steps.

In the early stages, there is good evidence for anti-inflammatory medication and early movement – for instance in a seated or lying position, draw circles with your foot in both directions as often as you can and within your pain limits. Also, including balance and strengthening exercises is effective at increasing the movement at the ankle as well as preventing further injury.

Exercise videos

The videos below show exercises that may be useful in strengthening the muscle to help it cope better with the demand that you are placing on it.

Don’t expect things to improve overnight though. It takes time for muscles and joints to adapt and get stronger.

Patient Information

To find out more about Ankle Sprain, including information about exercises, visit our webpage.