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5 Steps to Faster Ankle Sprain Recovery

Recovering from an ankle sprain is crucial for pain-free movement, resuming sports activities, and minimising the risk of future complications and re-injuries. In this blog, we'll explore four steps for faster recovery and a quicker return to activity.

Understanding Ankle sprains

An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn due to sudden twisting or rolling movements, resulting in pain, swelling, and difficulty walking.

Types of Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains can be categorised into two primary types: low ankle sprains and high ankle sprains.

  1. Low Ankle Sprains: These typically involve the outer or inner parts of the ankle. Lateral ankle sprains occur when the foot twists inward, while medial ankle sprains happen when the ankle twists outward.
  1. High Ankle Sprains: These affect structures above the ankle and are caused by bending the foot upward or twisting it outward.

Grading and Symptoms of Ankle Sprains

Depending upon the amount of swelling, pain and bruising ankle sprains can be graded as:

1. Grade I sprain:

It results from mild stretching of the ligament with microscopic tears without any significant joint instability.

Symptoms :

  • Mild swelling and tenderness.
  • Inability to bear weight and walk with minimal pain.

2. Grade II sprain:

More severe injury involving an incomplete tear of the ligament.

Symptoms :

  • Moderate pain, swelling, tenderness and bruising.
  • Mild to moderate joint instability on examination with some restriction of the range of motion and loss of function.
  • Weight bearing and walking are painful.

3. Grade III sprain:

This involves complete tearing of the ligament.

Symptoms :

  • Severe swelling, tenderness, bruising, pain- initially followed later by no pain.
  • Significant mechanical instability and loss of function and motion.
  • Unable to  bear weight or ambulate.

For Grade I lateral or high ankle sprains, recovery can be achieved with the PRICE regimen and targeted strengthening exercises.

Five Steps to Faster Ankle Sprain Recovery with PRICE:

  1. Protecting: Shield the ankle from further injury using methods like taping or splinting. Rest is crucial to prevent exacerbating the injury.
  2. Resting: Allow the ankle to rest and heal by avoiding activities that strain it.
  3. Icing: Apply ice for at least 15 minutes to reduce swelling and numb pain.
  4. Compressing: Wrap the ankle with a compression bandage to minimise swelling.
  5. Elevating: Elevate the ankle above the heart level to alleviate swelling and promote faster healing.

After adhering to the PRICE regimen, individuals can incorporate exercises like ankle alphabets, calf stretches, and gait training to enhance mobility and strength. Strengthening exercises for the knee, hip, and core may also be beneficial.

For Grade II and III sprains, additional treatment is necessary, including protection, weight-bearing exercises, and tailored sport training. Seeking guidance from a physiotherapist is advisable for personalised care.


Understanding the types and grading of ankle sprains helps determine appropriate treatment. Following the PRICE regimen—Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate—along with targeted exercises, supports faster recovery in case of Grade I lateral or high ankle sprains. Seek guidance from a physiotherapist for Grade II and III sprains to ensure personalised care and a successful recovery.