Recover From An Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains account for about 70% of all ankle injuries. They’re common. And they are painful, to say the least. They can also happen suddenly. You might have rolled your ankle on unstable ground or during a quick change in direction. Or perhaps when landing from a jump. Immediately, you feel pain. And unfortunately, this pain often tends to get in the way of your daily activities.

Luckily, there’s plenty of ways to treat an ankle sprain. However, treatment varies depending on the level of ankle sprain you have based on the signs and symptoms present. Let’s take a closer look!

  • Symptoms
  • Treatment
  • Prevention

Signs and symptoms

Common signs and symptoms of an ankle sprain include:

  • Pain, mostly when bearing weight on the affected foot
  • Tenderness when touching the ankle
  • Popping sensations
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Instability in the ankle
  • Restricted range of motion

The following grades of severity are used to describe sprains:

  • Grade I or Mild Sprain: This is the most common and least severe form. The ligaments are stretched but not torn. The ankle is still stable, and there is no loss of function. There may be slight pain and bruising present. Often, there is little to no swelling.
  • Grade II or Moderate Sprain: This injury is more severe and quite painful. One or more ligaments are partially torn. Movement is limited, and the joint is somewhat unstable. It may be difficult to walk. The ankle may experience swelling and/or tenderness. Bruising may also be present.
  • Grade III or Severe Sprain: One or more ligaments are torn. The ankle is unstable and may also include bone fractures. Walking is likely not possible. At the time of injury, you feel severe pain. There is also often substantial swelling.

How To Treat Ankle Sprain

Seeking out proper treatment for your ankle sprain helps reduce pain, prevents chronic pain and instability, increases the range of motion, and prevents recurring injuries. Immediately after injury, use R.I.C.E. to treat the area. Rest your ankle, ice the area, compress the area, and elevate your leg.

Use the following guidelines - based on severity - to help guide your treatment strategy:

GRADE I level (MILD SPRAIN) - R.I.C.E. Guidelines

  • Rest your ankle. Avoid walking on it, Limit weight bearing. Use crutches if necessary; if there is no fracture you are safe to put some weight on the leg. An ankle brace often helps control swelling and adds stability while the ligaments are healing.
  • Ice or Cold Compress to keep down the swelling but remember not to put the ice directly on the skin. Use a thin piece of cloth such as a pillow case between the ice bag and the skin. Don't ice more than 20 minutes at a time to avoid frostbite.
  • Compression can help control swelling as well as immobilise and support the injury.
  • Elevate your foot to reduce pain and throbbing

Grade II Sprain (Moderate Sprain): Follow the R.I.C.E. guidelines and allow more time for healing. A doctor may immobilize or splint your sprained ankle. Your doctor may recommend physiotherapy. A physiotherapist provides manual therapy to promote healing. They may also prescribe exercises to strengthen the affected area and improve flexibility.

Grade III Sprain (Severe Sprain): This grade of ankle sprain puts you at risk for permanent ankle instability. Rarely, surgery may be needed to repair the damage - especially for professional athletes. For severe ankle sprains, your doctor may also consider treating you with a short leg cast for two to three weeks or a walking boot. People who sprain their ankle repeatedly may also need surgical repair to tighten their ligaments. Physiotherapy will likely be recommended to help strengthen the area, improve flexibility, and prevent future injury.

How To Avoid Ankle Sprains

Some people wear ankle braces when they practice sports to ensure that their ankle is stable and to prevent any movement that could cause damage to the ankle.

Strength and coordination exercises are further important for preventing chronic ankle instability. In order to reduce re-injury and to ensure a full recovery, these exercises typically need to be done for weeks or even months after injury.

Common exercises include training on a balance board or a balance pad, that helps perform a range of motion exercises, and ankle strengthening with the use of a resistance band. These exercises promote proper healing. They also help strengthen the area and stabilize the ankle - preventing an ankle sprain from happening in the future.

Our Recommendation

Braces for Ankle Sprain

Wearing an ankle brace is a good idea when planning to get back to sport following an ankle injury. Make sure you choose a brace with a strong side support to prevent your ankle from rolling or twisting. The level of support you need will depend on the severity of your injury, as well as how far along you are in the process of recovery.

We recommend the ASO Classic (with Stays) black or white. This brace is designed with the active person in mind. It can help you get back to your sport while promoting proper healing of the injury. Further, it’s a good support if you have a higher ankle sprain. The Mueller The One ankle brace is also a good alternative as it provides a very solid support system to the ankle joint. The Meuller Adjustable Ankle Stabilizer is suitable for lower ankle sprains.

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Cold Therapy Options

Icing is an essential part of treatment. You have several options when it comes to choosing an icing device. You can decide to use a standard hot/cold pack. However, it can difficult to keep these packs in place. You can also use a cold compression device, which will be wrapped around the ankle. This ensures that the cold pack is kept in place. It also adds slight compression, which is recommended in the treatment of ankle sprains.

If you often experience pain around the ankle or if you are suffering from a more severe sprain, we recommend going with an ice compression device.

 

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Rehabilitation Devices

Rehabilitation is a necessary part of the recovery process. It helps prevent future or further injury. It strengthens the muscles around the affected joint and helps regain stability.

There are multiple ways to help build strength around the ankle.

You can choose to work on a wobble board - a board that tips sideways. There are various balance and strengthening exercises that can be performed on these boards. Your physiotherapist may also recommend various exercises.

Earlier on in the recovery process, you can work with a balance pad. A balance pad is a foam pad on which you can perform stability exercises. As it won't have the amplitude of a balance board, the exercises will be more focused on stability rather than building muscle. It also poses an easier option to the balance board. It is an especially good option for more severe sprains. For milder sprains, try an air cushion or balance board. These items will target your muscles and balance further.

Click here to view all our balance pads and wobble boards.

You can also use a resistance band, and practice exercises to improve stability around the ankle.

Click here to view all our resistance bands

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Pack And Save

We believe that getting the right products for your injury will help you recover faster.

We offer 10% off any recovery pack that contains a brace, a hot/cold item and a recovery tool. We have made some combinations, based on our experience. If you need a more customised combination, feel free to contact us and we will apply to same discount.

Premium pack

Only the best! Will be suitable to anyone looking for the best-in-class and highly durable products.

ASO Ankle Brace with inserts product

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Save 10%

Mid-range pack

Idea pack for someone with a milder injury, looking for medium level of support but don't want to compromise on quality.

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Save 10%

Super saving pack

This pack will suit anyone looking for a cheap way to recover from ankle sprain.

Deluxe Wobble Board top and bottom view

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Save 10%

Pack And Save

We believe that getting the right products for your injury will help you recover faster.

We offer 10% off any recovery pack that contains a brace, a hot/cold item and a recovery tool. We have made some combinations, based on our experience. If you need a more customised combination, feel free to contact us and we will apply to same discount.

Premium pack

Only the best! Will be suitable to anyone looking for the best-in-class and highly durable products.

Sold out

Save 10%

Mid-range pack

Idea pack for someone with a milder injury, looking for medium level of support but don't want to compromise on quality.

Sold out

Save 10%

Super saving pack

This pack will suit anyone looking for a cheap way to recover from ankle sprain.

Sold out

Save 10%

Disclaimer:

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.