What is an ankle sprain?

An ankle sprain can occur when you "roll" your ankle and the ligaments within your ankle are over stretched.  The severity of injury can vary depenings on the level of damage present.  The injury could include a partial tear in a ligament, a full tear in one or multiple ligaments or ligament damage with an associated fracture.  The most common type of ankle sprain is caused by rolling onton the outside of your ankle and often results in a grade I (minor), grade II (moderate) or grade III (severe) ligament tear.  The grade of the tear will have implications for healing time and rehabilitation required.

What are the symptoms of an ankle sprain?

A history of ankle sprains significantly increases your risk of a sprained ankle.  Symptoms after spraining your ankle can include pain, swelling and bruising.  You will generally be able to identify the time of injury, due to immediate onset of symptoms and possible popping or cracking sounds.

What is the initial treatment post an akle sprain?

Initial treatment involves RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.  It is important to stop the activity you are doing and avoid aggravating the ankle pain.  Ice should be applied for 20 minutes every 2-4 hours duribng the initial phase (48 hours) or while your ankle feels 'hot'.  A compression bandage should be applied and you should elevate your ankle above your head to reduce swelling.

What is the ongoing treatment and expected recovery time?

Recovery time after an ankle sprain will depend on the severity of your ankle sprain and can be anywhere between 3-12 weeks.  A health professional will be able to identify the severity of your ankle sprain, screen for a fracture and provide you with expected recovery time.  They will progress you through the rehabilitation process, reducing your risk of ongoing instability, pain and spraining your ankle again.