Learn about your Ankle sprain

An ankle sprain is the most common ankle injury, it accounts for 90% of ankle injuries during sport. It can happen when the foot is forced too far in one direction over stretching the ligaments that stabilise the ankle, depending on the force, position and mechanism the ligaments may even tear. Most ankle sprains occurs with the foot being forced inwards injuring the ligaments on the outside of the foot. The pain can be severe, making it difficult to walk and swelling may follow in the next few days. But, with the right advice, exercise and self treatment you should be able to make a full recovery.

How does a Ankle sprain happen?

  • Your ankle being forced beyond its comfortable range, typically by twisting or turning the foot inwards
  • Landing on your foot and twisting awkwardly whilst running or walking
  • Steeping on an uneven surface, or in a hole or edge of a step
  • Do I need an x-ray?

  • Swelling/Bruising - This is normal, the majority of the swelling happens immediately after the injury but can come
  • Severe pain that doesn’t improve with
  • How long will it take for ankle to get better?

    Full recovery can take up to 3 months, the pain should mostly settle within the first 4 to 6 weeks. You should be walking comfortably in 2 to 3 weeks and return to running after 6.

    What is the difference between an ligament sprain and tear?

    A sprain is where the ligament is stretched beyond it normal limits. This creates some micro damage within the ligament. A tear is where the ligament is stretched to the point where it tears.

     When should I see a specialist?

    Your ankle is going to be painful but the pain should feel like it starts to improve after a week, particularly if you are resting. Your pain can increase if you are trying to move or exercise a little more, this is normal.

    Immediately after your injury walking is going to be painful but should be able to manage a few steps, again as time passes you should find it becomes easier and easier.

    f your ankle is very painful after your injury  it can be wise to spend a couple of days resting, this should help the pain settle. But you should try to get moving as soon as possible as this improves your long term recovery.

    It’s good to have a feel of your ankle after you have injured it, gently press around the area of the injury and it will all feel quite sensitive but if there is one spot that is excessively more painful than the rest of the surrounding area then speak to a specialist.

     What should I expect?

    This can vary significantly depending on the severity of the injury, your body’s reaction and general health. You can have pain for several months but the acute and severe pain should settle within the first 4 to 6 weeks. 

    Swelling is normal after an injury and the amount swelling can vary depending on your age, your medical history and the severity of your injury. In the early stages of your recovery you should try to manage the amount of swelling but it’s normal for swelling to reappear as you progress through your recovery, however, it can take several months for your ankle to completely resolve.

    Warmth and redness  is a sign that there is increased cellular activity and that the body is putting effort and energy into your recovery, this should last for around 2 weeks. However, if you also cut or scratched your ankle during your injury and the redness, warmth is worsening a week after your injury this can be a sign of an infection, we would encourage you to seek medical advice.

    Bruising can happen during an ankle injury either due to a direct impact or due to tearing of soft tissue. Bruising can appear up to a week later and this is often a sign of ligament tear rather than sprain.

    Ligaments provide support for our joints and injuring them can leave the joint feeling  unstable. Pain can also prevent muscles from working normally which will add to the ankle feeling unstable this is normal and as your ankle recovers and you work on your ehabilitation 

    Your Recovery starts now...

    Hopefully you are starting to understand your ankle injury. Now to start you on the road to recovery.

    It is important you try to get walking and moving on your ankle as quickly as possible.  

    Painkillers can help if really needed but avoid using anti-inflammatories as research shows this can impact on the overall quality of the healing tissue. 

    Wearing a support or boot can often hinder your recovery, you can if your swelling is severe use a compression bandage or stocking.

    Gels and ointments can be effective if you have used them before, if your injury is only a few weeks old you can use anti-inflammatory gels but we find ice just as effective. 

    Recovering from any injury requires patience, knowledge and doing the right things at the right time. Our programme below covers all this and guides you through your recovery teaching you everything you need to know about your ankle sprain. Get started today!

     Ankle Sprain Recovery Programme

    This programme will guide you from the day you injured your ankle until your back doing the things you love. After you enrol in the programme you will gain access to our rehabilitation programme.

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