Ankle Sprains

What are they?

Ankle sprains are injuries involving the ligaments of the ankle. The most common mechanism of injury is an inversion injury where the ankle rolls inwards and the ligaments on the outside of the ankle are affected. However, the ligaments on the inside of the ankle can also be affected through other mechanisms of injury.

The ligaments can be sprained to varying degrees and most commonly present with swelling and bruising following the injury.

Most ankle sprains will resolve naturally within a few days. If you are unable to weightbear on your ankle following an ankle sprain is is important to see a heath professional. You can self-refer for physiotherapy.

What can I do to help?

Pain relief: Simple painkillers (like paracetamol) or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDS, (like ibuprofen) are available over the counter and can be very effective but don’t use them for more than 2 weeks without seeking medical advice. If you are currently taking any form of medication it is advisable to consult your GP or pharmacist before taking additional pain relief.

Ice: If your ankle is swollen and inflamed (warm to the touch) applying an ice pack may be helpful for reducing pain and swelling. A packet of frozen peas wrapped in a tea towel works well as an ice pack. Leave the peas in place for no more than 20 minutes at a time. This can be repeated several times a day.

Reducing the strain on your ankle or foot: It is usually best to carry out your normal activities, but try not to overdo it. You need to pace yourself to start with and try to do a bit more each day.

Rest: It is usually best to try to carry out your normal activities in small amounts, you mustn’t overdo it. You need to take things slowly, pace your activities and avoid movements that make your pain worse.

Exercise: Exercise is important to keep your ankle strong and flexible. Below are a few exercises to try of your ankle and foot. They should not aggravate your pain whilst you perform them, if they do, do not push through the pain.

A little post exercise discomfort is not uncommon and not a sign of damage. If you experience pain that regularly lasts for more than 30 minutes after exercise and feel that overall your pain is worsening please stop all exercises and seek advice from the physiotherapy department.

Ankle Circles

Ankle exercises

Ankle Rotation Exercise

Rotate the ankle around in a circle in both directions.


Standing Calf Raises


Standing Calf Raise Exercise

Holding onto the wall if necessary.  

Rise up onto your tiptoes (keeping your legs straight) before slowly (5 seconds) lowering down.  


Single Leg Stand


Single Leg Stand Exercise

Holding on if needed

Stand on one leg and try to maintain your balance for 30-60 seconds


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