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The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

Ankle Sprains

An ankle sprain is damage done to the ligaments of the ankle joint. Ligaments connect our bones to each other and aren’t as elastic as muscles. So when we ‘roll’ our ankle, the ligaments become under stress and slightly tear- this is known as a sprain. We grade the severity of ankle sprains on the damage done to the ligament. The greater the tear, the higher the grade and longer the subsequent recovery time.

The most common ankle sprain is when the baby toe goes under the foot when someone misjudges a step or loses balance. You can identify a sprain by pain, swelling bruising and the lack of movement.

If you have suffered an ankle sprain think RICE:

Rest. Protect yourself from any further damage and rest your foot.
Ice. The cooling sensation can ease the pain.
Compression. Wrap an elastic bandage around your foot (Not too tight!).
Elevate. Raise your foot up to slow down the swelling process* as it will quite painful during the early stages.

*Swelling in the area of pain is also a sign that your body is trying to heal. Do not be too worried about preventing all swelling!


After an ankle sprain, its best to move the joint as much as you can, with as little pain as possible. Moving the ankle joint will promote the healing process while avoiding stiffness. Simple movements like pointing the foot up, down and side-to-side are great and once these movements can be completed with little-to-no pain, we can start to strengthen the surrounding muscles of the joint to try and prevent the ankle from re-injury.

Sometimes with ankle sprains the person can be left with a small fracture in their foot. If the swelling and bruising of the ankle do not subside and look quite unsightly a few days after the injury, feel free to contact us so we can make sure you get the proper treatment for your injury.

More severe sprains can take longer to heal and can leave you in pain or unstable when walking.
If you have recently sprained your ankle, give us a call so we can get to the bottom of your issue and get you back to feeling better!

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