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6 ways to recover from an ankle sprain

6 ways to recover from an ankle sprain

28th April 2019

With netball and football season in full swing, a common injury at this time of year is an ankle sprain. You might still be able to walk, but it’s probably pretty uncomfortable. We share our top 6 tips to support your recovery and manage your injury at home until you can receive a full assessment by one of our qualified practitioners at CHH.

1. Elevate your ankle

Whenever you are resting at home, be it on the couch, watching TV or in bed, prop it up on a cushion and sleep with a pillow underneath your foot and lower leg.

2. Compress the area

Using strapping tape or a compression bandage, keep your ankle compressed. This will also help with the swelling.

3. Use ice

Apply ice to the ankle joint for 15 minutes on and off throughout the day to help with pain and swelling.

4. Stay mobile and stretch

Low-grade ankle sprains will benefit greatly from early mobilisation. You may not be able to weight bear or walk comfortably, so instead, simply flex + extend your ankle, and make small circles with it to prevent it becoming more stiff and sore. Stretch other areas of your body that may be compensating; think of your hamstrings and lower back. You can also gently twist your spine from side to side.

5. Wear appropriate footwear

If you are in a lot of pain or experiencing a lot of swelling, you may not be able to wear many of your shoes. It goes without saying that you want to provide your ankle with the best possible support, so avoid thongs, heels or shoes you can easily slip in. Opt for sneakers or boots that aren’t too heavy.

6. Get assessed

It is important to get assessed by one of our practitioners at CHH or another health professional as soon as possible. They can assess the degree of damage to your ankle and provide you with a plan for recovery and assist you to return to your normal activities or sport.


Here are a few activities you can do to get up and moving after an ankle sprain.

1. Dorsiflexion

Keeping the leg straight, flex the foot towards your knee. Do this within your pain limits. Repeat 10 times.

Foot flex Dorsiflexion

2. Plantarflexion

Keeping the leg straight, point the foot forward as far as you can towards the ground, within your pain limits. Repeat 10 times.

Foot point Plantarflexion

3. Inversion

Keeping the leg straight, point the foot to the left within your pain limits. Repeat 10 times.

Ankle stretch left Inversion

4. Eversion

Keeping the leg straight, point the foot to the right within your pain limits. Repeat 10 times.

Ankle stretch right Eversion

Check out our video where we show you exactly how to do these ankle exercises

Video Thumbnail

5. Hamstring Stretch

Your lower limb muscles, in particular the hamstring muscle group, may often compensate after spraining your ankle. Therefore a hamstring stretch can assist in the recovery of a sprained ankle. Raise your foot onto a box with your knee bent, driving the heel down, tilting the pelvis back and gently leaning forward. Hold for approximately 30 seconds each leg. Repeat 5 times.

Hamstring stretch Hamstring Stretch

6. Cat Cow Stretch for the Lower Back

After spraining your ankle, your lower back may begin to compensate and tighten up. This cat cow stretch will assist in relieving tension in your lower back. On hands and knees, try to elevate your spine up to the ceiling, forming a semi circular curve, followed by sinking your belly button down to the ground and arching gently through your lower back. Repeat 5-8 times.

Video Thumbnail

The team at Canterbury Health Hub can assist you to get ready for winter with hands on treatment and a tailored plan. We can also provide advice and education on prevention strategies for common conditions we see during the colder months. Book online today!

This article is for information purposes only. Please consult your Osteopath or primary healthcare professional for further information.