Ankle Sprain - Phase 1: Inflammatory Reaction

man putting bandage on his ankle sprain
Photo from: Healthline


What happens to your body when you get injured?

In the early days of the injury, your body goes into an inflammatory phase. Here’s what happens in this stage.

During the first 48 hours, the signs of inflammation are present; they are swelling, redness, heat, pain at rest, and loss of function. When testing the range of motion, movement is painful with muscle guarding which prevents the patient from moving the affected ankle to its usual range of motion.

The pain and impaired movement are the result of altered chemical state that irritates the nerve in the area.

  • An increased tissue tension due to an edema or joint effusion,
  • A muscle guarding, which is the body’s way of immobilizing a painful area.

This stage usually lasts 4 to 6 days unless the injury is perpetuated.

What to do to ease the pain and ensure recovery?

To help decrease the pain and prevent further Injury, It is recommended to manage the ankle sprain by protecting the Injured ankle joint by putting a brace/bandage or cast to ease the pain and promote healing. Protection of the part affected by the inflammatory process is necessary during the first 24 to 48 hours.
The ankle should be immobilized in a neutral or in slight dorsiflexion (toes are brought closer to the shin, curling upwards, and decreasing the angle between the dorsum of the foot and the leg) and eversion(tilt the sole of the foot away from the midline of the body).


Applying Ice compression on the Injured ankle would also be beneficial to decrease the swelling and decrease pain sensation.

ice compression on the injured ankle

Depending on the part involved, protection with assistive devices for ambulation may be required. Injured persons may also be advised to ambulate with non weight bearing on the affected side.

Depending on the type and severity of the injury, manual methods of pain and edema control such as massage by gently stroking the Injured site by the tip of your thumb in an upward motion.

Learn More About Each of Ankle Sprain's Phases of Recovery and Treatment


week 2 to 4

After Full recovery


The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only. The indications provided are not a prescription and cannot substitute the recommendation of a health practitioner. We recommend that you seek the advice of your GP, physiotherapist or health practitioner before buying any item on Back To Sport.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.