Ankle Sprain – What Does it Mean?

Ever experience an ankle sprain and been a bit unsure about what that actually means and what is involved in the recovery process?

At Bodyworks, we see a fair share of ankle sprains so our practitioners would like to spread some light on how they may occur, common causes and symptoms, and the best way to manage a sprain after it has occurred.

Causes and Symptoms:

Ankle sprains are common in many sports that involve running, jumping, landing, and change of direction (Netball, Basketball, Athletics etc).

“Fun Fact: The ankle joint is the second most likely joint to sustain an injury in sport.”

We are often asked, “What is the difference between a sprain and a strain?”. Simply put a sprain is an insult to a ligament. Whereas a strain is an insult to a muscle. Your physiotherapist will aid you in discovering which term applies to your injury.

An ankle sprain is graded in terms of severity (Grade 1- minor, Grade 2- moderate, Grade 3- Severe). Read more about Ligament Sprains and Grading Here

The most commonly injured ligament in the ankle is the Anterior Talofibular Ligament (ATFL), which is usually caused by a rolling onto the outside of the foot (Inversion). Most of the common ankle sprains occur to the outside of the ankle, however, can also occur on the inside (lower incidence)

Ankle Sprain Management:

Management of an ankle sprain is broken down into a timeline starting on the first day the injury occurs.

Day 0-7:
Acute Management: PEACE & LOVE

Day 7-14:
Acute management:

  • Normalise gait pattern (Person’s Walking Pattern)
  • Wean off walking aid as required
  • Gentle strengthening exercises as pain and function allows
  • Proprioceptive


  • Exercise rehabilitation targeted at the lower limb as a whole along with the whole kinetic chain
  • “Return to Running Program”, gradually graded to the specific individual.
  • Sports specific rehabilitation for return to sport as guided by your physiotherapist

It is important to remember that poor management after the initial sprain increases the chances of injury reoccurrence.

Our team of friendly physiotherapists is here to help if you have experienced an ankle sprain or injury. If you would like to book an appointment to see one of our practitioners please book online.

Help You Need When You Need It

Our patient-centred and holistic approach to Physiotherapy means we have a strong connection with our patients, and individually tailor treatment programs to deliver the best outcomes throughout your recovery process.