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Dislocated Ankle

What is a Dislocated Ankle?

A dislocated ankle is damage or tearing of the soft tissue occurring due to a sudden force in the ankle causing it to flex outside the range of its normal movement. When this happens, the bones can move out of their normal position within the foot causing dislocation. Forces needed to dislocate an ankle are large and so this injury tends to be as a result of trauma to the area. This injury is therefore common in contact sports such as rugby and hockey as well as in sports that require rapid changes in directions such as football and netball.


  • Sudden force to the ankle causing it to flex abnormally
  • Falls
  • Sports Injuries
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents


  • Sudden intense pain
  • Inability to bear weight
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Numbness
  • Lack of blood flow causing the foot to go blue


  • RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
  • Surgery
  • Wearing a plaster cast
  • Use of crutches
  • Physiotherapy
The most common symptom of a dislocated ankle is a sudden surge of pain in the ankle at the point of injury which often spreads to the calf and lower leg. Patients usually feel unable to continue with their activity once the injury has been sustained due to an inability to bear weight on the foot. Swelling and tenderness is also likely in patients with a dislocated ankle and often the ankle will appear to be out of place and abnormal. Some patients also suffer a loss of blood flow to the foot due to the damaged soft tissue, causing the appearance of the foot to do blue/white. Sometimes patients also suffer numbness and a pins and needles sensation in the foot.


In order to diagnose a dislocated ankle a doctor or physiotherapist will give a full examination of the area and an X ray is performed in order to confirm the diagnosis. A doctor may also recommend an MRI or CT scan to rule out any further injury or complications.

How Long Does It Take To Recover From A Dislocated Ankle?

6 to 12 weeks, is the average recovery time for a dislocated ankle. Recovery is dependent on the severity of the injury, rehabilitation time and whether or not surgery is required.

How Do You Treat A Dislocated Ankle At Home?

The RICE method is the best at home treatment for a dislocated ankle. Make sure to Rest, apply Ice, use Compression and keep it Elevated. As always, make sure you consult a medical expert if you have incurred any injury to your ankle, especially a dislocation.

Do You Need Surgery For A Dislocated Ankle?

Surgery is often necessary when treating a dislocated ankle. Any fractured bones will need to be surgically fixed back together using screws and plates.

Further Info

In order to treat a dislocated ankle, rest is crucial to allow the injury chance to heal. It is important that no activity which increases pain or puts added pressure on the area is undergone to prevent further injury or increasing the healing period. See our selection of Ankle Supports for immediate splinting of the ankle. Applying ice to the area is also an important aspect of recovery as it will minimise any swelling and inflammation of the area. Following the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) when the injury first occurs and within the following 72 hours will ensure no further damage is caused to the area and prevent any further swelling of the injury which may come from resuming activity, see our Cryotherapy or Hot & Cold Packs. Anti-Inflammatory medications may be taken to relive the pain of the injury and also to minimise any swelling. Once medical advice has been sought and an X-ray has been performed on the area, a medical professional will then attempt to relocate the bone back in its original position. Surgery is often required to correct this injury in order to stabilise using plates or screws which will then be stabilised using a boot or brace for a period of time. Having the injury set in plaster cast and/or using crutches is also recommended to keep the area immobilised and to prevent weight being put on the injury through walking allowing the tendon to heal more effectively. Once the injury is in its final stages, the patient can begin to take gradual steps back to activity which can involve increase in weight bearing activity and strengthening exercises advised by a physiotherapist to keep the area strong and ensure flexibility once the patient has made a full recovery and has returned to sports. This should not be done without professional advice as a patient can run the risk of aggravating the area and increase the healing process. Within the first few months of returning to training, stretching exercises may be performed to keep the area stable and strong and can also help prevent the injury reoccurring. Use a Wobble Board or Resistance Bands to assist in your recovery, along with an Ankle Support to wean back to full fitness slowly. If the physiotherapist advises strapping, then our Zinc Oxide Tape is the perfect solution.