What are they?

Ankle sprains are usually the result of trauma or an injury to the ankle joint. The most common ankle sprain is known as an ATFL (anterior tibiofibular ligament) sprain which commonly occurs when you roll the outside of the foot inwards, known as “inversion”. When this occurs, the ATFL ligament over-stretches causing pain, swelling and at times bruising.

Less commonly, the inside of the foot rolls outwards (known as “eversion”). This type of injury usually takes a lot of force (think someone falling on your ankle!) and this damages the deltoid ligament of the foot – one of the strongest ligaments in the body. This injury can take longer to recover from compared to an ATFL sprain due to the force required to injure this strong ligament.

How long do they take to heal?

The recovery for a sprain injury depends on the severity and location of the injury.

Mild sprains you can start to see improvement in your ankle within 1-2 weeks.

Moderate sprains can range from 3-6 weeks.

Severe sprains the recovery process can take up to 2-3 months.

What can your Osteopath do to help?

Firstly decrease pain by:

  • Increasing ankle joint motion along with the surrounding joints of the lower limb with the aim to decrease swelling and offload compensating areas.
  • Soft tissue work to reduce muscle tightness and increase blood flow to area.
  • Strengthening and stretching exercises to build up the muscles surrounding the ankle to decrease the likelihood of re-injuring the joint.
  • Education/management to assist in decreasing the likelihood of re-injury.

What can you do to help yourself?

  • Apply the R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) injury management method as soon as possible.
  • Gentle pain free movement of the ankle as early as possible.
  • Bexter Soda Crystals (Epsom salts) to assist in decreasing the swelling within the joint.
  • Make an appointment with your Osteopath.


Hope you enjoyed reading this blog, if you have any further questions or you’d like some advice,  feel free email me at jack@pakenhamosteopathy.com.au or enter your question on our website chatbox at www.pakenhamosteopathy.com.au


Please click here for the Ankle Injury fact sheet by Sports Medicine Australia.