How to Treat a Bad Ankle Sprain?

Everyone has experienced an ankle sprain at some point in their lives, it may have been a mild one which resolves in a few minutes, or it could be a severe one that last for weeks to months on end.

If you have sprained your ankle as a once of incident, and the pain and symptoms were “mild” there is usually nothing too much to worry about.

If an ankle continuously sprains, gets injured, stays swollen and is very painful after sprains. It may be beneficial for you to give some additional attention to that ankle.

Is an Ankle Sprain Just an Ankle Sprain?

There are occasions where ankle sprains come with associated and underlying injuries that could lead to complications.

Fractures, ruptured ligaments and dislocations are the more severe of the injuries that require higher levels of attention.

Occasionally ankle sprains can result in other complications that carry forward in the future. These complications can often times interfere with sporting performances, lead to further injuries (not just ankle sprains), and interfere with daily activities.

Other complications of ankle sprains may include:

  • Reduced proprioception (reduced awareness/control)
  • Tibia stiffness
  • Altered ligamentous integrity
  • Reduced range of motion

It is important to treat ankle injuries with the ‘whole body’ perspective in mind, as ankle injuries often serve as a precursor to the development of other future impairments.

What Can I do?

Perform a quick Check

Upon injuring your ankle on field be sure to look out for the following signs.

  • Inability to put weight on ankle (immediately and after a few hours)
  • Bony tenderness at sides of ankle especially at the bony prominence’s
  • Pain in mid-foot zone especially at the bones

If the above signs and symptoms are prominent, it is best to get your ankle assessed by a professional as there could be a higher chance for a fracture or serious injury.


Rest your injured ankle, attempt to very gradually put weight on it as your body tolerates. Try not to force too much weight on too quickly.


Icing may be good to control swelling and pain. Take not that if the ice gives a very burning like sensation or the injured area experiences some abnormal sensations it may be best to consult a professional.


Add some compression to minimize on the swelling. Having some compression stockings on may aid. Be wary of wrapping the ankle too tightly that circulation is compromised.


Depending on how the swelling goes, it may be beneficial to elevate your ankle above the heart when lying down. Use pillows for this, and be sure that the rest of your body is in a comfortable position.


The use of anti-inflammatory medications have soared in popularity recently. Many patients may be tempted to consume medication to reduce swelling after an injury. Take note that inflammation/ swelling is a normal response of the body to kick start healing. Although the body may take on an exaggerated response in swelling, often times anti-inflammatories may not be indicated. It is best to consult a professional for advice first before consuming medication.


Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine thy food – Hippocrates

Be sure that you monitor your diet post injury. Have a good supply of water intake and a great mix of anti-inflammatory foods such as berries.


Treatment: Treatment for the ankle may vary depending on the severity, acuteness and level of physical changes present.

Rehab program: This is often always recommended for most patients as it’ll help improve outcomes following an injury.

Prevention program: It is always beneficial to think long term when it comes to ankles, it is best to speak to your physiotherapist regarding a prevention program.