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Low Ankle Sprains: Roadmap to Recovery

Ankle sprains are among the most common injuries encountered, not just among athletes but anyone stepping unevenly or experiencing a simple misstep.

Understanding Low Ankle Sprains:

A low ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments that support the ankle stretch or tear unexpectedly. This usually happens during activities that involve rapid changes of direction, uneven surfaces, or accidental slips. Symptoms often include pain, swelling, bruising, and a restricted range of motion.

Immediate Steps for Recovery:

The initial treatment for a low ankle sprain is critical and can be remembered with the acronym RICER:

- Rest: Avoid putting weight on the injured ankle to prevent further damage.

- Ice: Apply ice packs to the affected area for 20 minutes every two hours to reduce swelling.

- Compression: Use an elastic bandage to wrap the ankle snugly, but not so tight as to cut off circulation.

- Elevation: Keep the ankle raised above heart level to help reduce swelling and pain.

- Referral: See a qualified health professional for assessment. Sometimes ankle sprains are accompanied by more serious injuries such as fractures.

Gradual Rehabilitation:

Once the pain and swelling have begun to subside, gentle rehabilitation exercises can be started to restore mobility and strengthen the ankle. These might include:

- Range of Motion Exercises: Gently moving the ankle in different directions to improve flexibility.

- Strengthening Exercises: Using resistance bands or performing toe raises to strengthen the muscles around the ankle.

- Balance Training: Practicing standing on one foot or using a balance board to improve control and stability.

Preventing Re-Injury:

As you recover, it’s essential to take steps to prevent future ankle injuries. These include:

- Proper Footwear: Wear shoes that offer good support and fit your feet well.

- Environmental Awareness: Be mindful of uneven or slippery surfaces that can increase the risk of a sprain.

- Supportive Braces or Taping: Consider using an ankle brace or tape when participating in activities that put stress on your ankles.

Returning to Normal Activities:

Recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the sprain, but typically, patients start to feel better within a few weeks. It’s important to return to full activity gradually to avoid setbacks. Listen to your body and consult with your physiotherapist to determine when you can safely increase your activity level.


Low ankle sprains, while painful and inconvenient, can be effectively managed with proper care and rehabilitation. By following these guidelines, you can expect a successful recovery and return to your normal activities with confidence. Remember, everyone’s recovery will vary, and our team is here to support you throughout your healing journey.

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