Oh, it’s just an ankle sprain…. or is it?


Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries that people experience in their lives. Many believe that ankle sprains are a simple injury that will recover without treatment…

Research tells us that up to 40% of people with ankle sprains will not fully recover… and will go on to develop chronic ankle pain (Philbin, Landis & Smith, 2009). If left untreated, ankle sprains can result in considerable time lost to injury, as approximately 25% of those who sprain their ankles are unable to attend school or work for more than 1 week (Shah, Thomas, Noone, Blanchette & Wikstrom, 2016) and return to sport can take far longer.

Like many injuries if you ignore it… you are putting yourself out of action for longer!

A lot of people don’t realise that the term “sprain” means damage or tearing of the ligaments of the ankle. The foot and ankle region is a complex area of the body, involving many different structures that could be injured at the time of a sprain. Other possible injuries include fracture, muscle tears and tendon damage.

So people who complain of a simple ‘rolled ankle’ may not fully understand how complicated their injury is!

The specifics of your particular injury will determine what type of treatment is needed… and how long your recovery will take. If left un-diagnosed and untreated, ankle sprains and associated injuries can lead to ongoing strength, balance and range of motion losses which can result in ongoing pain and chronic ankle instability.

So whether you like to dance, play sport, walk or just simply want to avoid painful injuries that could prevent you from doing the things you enjoy…

Don’t ignore your sprain… talk to a professional!

Careful assessment and diagnosis by your physiotherapist can give you an understanding of the extent of the injury, and the structures involved. Your physiotherapist can then give you the right advice and exercises to manage and rehabilitate the injury, in order to achieve the best outcome and fastest recovery.

Think you have a sprained ankle (…or worse)?
Book with one of our physiotherapists today!


Written by Elizabeth Jones

Philbin, T. M., Landis, G. S., & Smith, B. (2009). Peroneal Tendon Injuries. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 17(5), 306-317.
Shah, S., Thomas, A., Noone, J., Blanchette, C., & Wikstrom, E. (2016). Incidence and Cost of Ankle Sprains in United States Emergency Departments. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, 8(6), 547-552.