Ankle Sprains

Lateral Ankle SprainOverview 

Ankle sprains are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries that we see in the physio clinic. The injury occurs when one or more of the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn. This can cause pain, swelling and difficulty with weight bearing. If the pain is affecting your ability to walk it is important to get it diagnosed properly to rule out any serious pathology (eg fractures). Often without proper treatment and rehabilitation the ankle may not heal well and cause ongoing stiffness, instability and recurrent sprains. 


Anatomy of the ankle

The most common type of ankle sprain is damage to the lateral ligaments (outside of the ankle). These ligaments consist of the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), calcaneofibular ligament (CFL) and the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL). 
Less common sprains include the medial ankle, the anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament (AITFL) and injury to the syndesmosis (the ligaments connecting the 2 shin bones together just above the ankle). These are more commonly associated with contact sports and are very important to rule out as they can cause chronic ankle issues if not treated correctly. 

Rolled Ankle

What can treatment involve?

First stage

  • Decrease pain 
  • Reduce swelling 
  • Protect ligaments to promote proper healing 
  • Rule out serious injury

This usually involves the RICE principle - Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation 
Your physio may strap the injured ankle during this period to protect the ligaments and provide compression. If a fracture is suspected then we can organise an X-ray to be done.

Second Stage

  • Restore range of motion 
  • Restore strength 
  • Restore function 

Gentle pain free movement exercises are begun. Some common exercises include ankle mobility (spelling out the alphabet with your foot), banded strength, calf raises and balance exercises.

Final Stage - Return to sport/activity

  • Sport specific testing 
  • Regain full strength 
  • Regain full range of motion

This stage we include activity specific exercises such as hopping, running, change of direction drills. Once full strength, control and range of motion are restored with no pain and no swelling then we can return to normal activity. 


If you are struggling with an ankle injury or have recurring ankle sprains our physiotherapists will be able to help you get back on track.  

Previously Known as Appleby Physiotherapy 



6/38 Kirkwood Street
NSW 2092
(02) 9907 9667

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