What is a sprained ankle? A sprained ankle is an injury that occurs when you twist, roll or turn your ankle in an awkward way.
How do you know if your ankle is sprained?
- Signs and symptoms of a sprained ankle will vary due to the severity of the injury
- You may not be able to use your ankle as you normally would and will have trouble putting weight on it
- You may experience moderate pain, bruising and swelling
- The ankle will feel loose and may appear that it has been pulled forward
Determine the severity of the sprain
Sprains come in 3 grades:
- A grade 1 sprain has slight tearing of the ligaments it will result in mild tenderness and swelling
- A grade 2 sprain has partial ligament tearing, and moderate tenderness and swelling
- A grade 3 sprain is a complete tearing or rupture of ankle ligaments, ankle is unstable with a tremendous amount of pain, bruising and swelling
What should you do if you sprain your ankle?
- Ice – Treating a sprain with ice can reduce pain and swelling
- Depending on the severity of the sprain you could use an elastic bandage, sports tape or an ankle support brace to keep the ankle stable. If the sprain is severe you may even need a cast or a walking boot
- Take NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen or Nurofen if you are allowed to take this
- Gently massage the ankle to shift the swelling from the area
How long does a sprained ankle last?
Depends of the severity, 3 to 4 weeks to heal a moderate ankle sprain and 3 to 6 months for a more severe injury to heal.
If you have a sprained ankle avoid:
- Any activities that actively cause pain in your ankle. You could still encourage faster healing by doing simple range-of-motion stretches with the ankle, as long as it doesn’t cause pain
- Avoid walking on your ankle as much as possible until the swelling goes down
- Try not to put weight on the ankle, you could use crutches to help distribute your weight and keep your balance when you walk
See your doctor for moderate or severe sprains. A grade 1 sprain may not require any medical attention, but grades 2-3 should be seen by a doctor. If your sprain prevents you from comfortably putting weight on your ankle for more than a day, or if you experience severe pain and swelling, call your doctor, who may recommend for you to have sports physiotherapy.
If you need a physiotherapist please call Home Physio Group to see how sports physiotherapy can help you on 0330 335 1016.