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Sprained Ankle

What Is A Sprained Ankle?

A sprained ankle occurs when an excessive amount of pressure is placed on the ligaments in the ankle which they are unable to cope with, causing damage and tearing to the soft tissue. The severity of the injury can range from a partial tear to a complete rupture. A common cause of a sprained ankle is the rapid change of direction seen in sports such as football and basketball, particularly when playing on uneven surfaced. Players who may excessively turn the foot inwards are also more likely to sustain this injury.


  • Impact or excessive pressure applied to the ankle
  • Rapid changes in direction and excessive turning of the foot inwards or outwards


  • Sudden pain in the area at the point of injury
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Inability to bear weight on the injury


  • RICE method within first 72 hours
  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Strengthening and stretching exercises
  • Bracing to prevent further injury

How Long Does A Sprained Ankle Take To Heal?

Two weeks. A sprained ankle can take between 5 days and 2 weeks to heal properly. A more severe sprain may take longer to heal, with a recovery time of 4 to 6 weeks. This is an estimate time frame and healing will depend on the severity of your injury.

Can You Walk On A Sprained Ankle?

It is recommended that you rest a sprained ankle rather than putting pressure on it to aid recovery. Patients who sustain a sprained ankle usually complain of a sudden surge of pain at the point of injury and it is not unheard of for a patient to hear and feel a ‘snapping’ sensation. This is usually followed by swelling and inflammation of the area and patients will often complain that they are unable to bear weight on the injury.

Sprained Ankle Diagnosis

In order to diagnose a sprained ankle, a doctor 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 is used to rule out any further injury or complications.

Further Info

In order to treat a sprained 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. Applying ice to the area is also an important aspect of recovery for any tendon injury 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. Anti-Inflammatory medications may be taken to relive the pain of the injury and also to minimise any swelling. 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.