Ankle Sprain Self Help

Shaun Pownall's picture

You've twisted your ankle, now what?

A common injury that a lot of people experience is ankle sprains.

A sprain is when the ligaments around a joint are over stretched at a fast speed and within a short period of time. This means we can have minor micro tears in the different tissues surrounding that area, which creates discomfort in the location of the sprain. Rolling the ankle inwards, seems to be the most common type of sprain, effecting the ligaments on the outside (lateral) side of the ankle and is rare when the ankle sprains in the opposite direction.

Ankle First Aid

If you experience any type of ankle sprain, the first thing to do is take any pressure off the ankle and undergo the RICE protocol.

For those who don’t know, RICE stands for:

  • Rest,
  • Ice,
  • Compression and
  • Elevate.

Resting is first most important thing to do, so that you don’t create any further damage to the ligaments and doesn’t escalate to a rupture instead.

Using ice for 20 minutes every 3-4 hours can help to reduce any swelling, pain, redness, and inflammation. The important thing to remember is to never put ice directly onto the skin but to cover it in a tea towel or other type of protective layer, this is because the ice can damage the skin quite severely.

Adding a compression item such as a bandage can help to support the ankle and keep it in place and prevent the ankle from rolling again.

Finally, by elevating your ankle with a pillow so your foot is above heart level, this can help further to reduce swelling by draining any excess fluid that has been created.


What's next?


Once you are able to put pressure on the ankle again, working on the following should be prioritised:

  • mobility of the ankle joint 
  • strengthening the muscles surrounding the joint


Depending on the severity of the injury, mobility/strengthening exercises can be either made easier to start or a little more challenging if the sprain is minor.

By using a variety of stretches before any strengthening and mobility exercises, this can reduce the risk of injury and allow for the muscles to be more pliable and use more of the muscle group to work as they should. By mixing the stretches with the movement, the range of motion should increase significantly and the injury should start to improve. 


Shaun Pownall's picture
About Shaun Pownall

Level 5 Advance Sports, Injury and Rehabilitation Therapist.  

He is interested in any Strength Sports and does Powerlifting in his free time.

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