Rehabilitation of sprained ankle.

- Apr 08, 2020-

Rehabilitation of sprained ankle.

A complete and effective rehabilitation program can help restore normal ankle function and prevent recurring sprains. The rehabilitation methods described below apply to most common injuries, but not all situations. Before you start regular rehabilitation, it is best to consult a sports injury specialist to evaluate your injury to determine what can and cannot be done. Here we recommend individualized rehabilitation programs, tailor-made, there is no best, only the most suitable.


Rehabilitation goals

Control pain and swelling

Improve joint mobility

Improve muscle strength around joints

Restore neural control and proprioception

Resume normal exercise


The first stage-early injury (0-2 weeks)

Goal: Control pain and swelling.

Timing: The injury needs to start immediately, generally from the day after injury to 2 weeks, depending on the specific circumstances of the injury.

Implementation: Based on P.R.I.C.E.M.M. (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Modality, Medication)

Protection: Protection, to prevent further damage, try not to bear weight on the affected limb.

Gypsum and braces: You can use gypsum or braces for protection, which will help you recover better and faster. If the ankle valgus movement can be sufficiently restricted, the back-and-forth swinging exercises on the sagittal plane (that is, dorsal extension and plantar flexion) can be allowed to be performed properly.

The premise of the activity must be that the laterally damaged ligament is fixed to the greatest extent. It is recommended to use a fixed splint with a gel that restricts the inside and outside turning, which can serve as a cold compress while protecting the brake. However, it is not suitable to use such braces in the late stage of rehabilitation.

Rest: Rest and braking are necessary. You can use double crutches in the first few days of injury to reduce the weight of the affected limbs. Pulling the injured ligaments too early early in recovery may hinder healing. Whether they can bear full weight depends on the pain.

Isometric contraction exercises for the muscles around the ankle can be started as long as the pain is tolerable.

The isometric contraction exercise of the ankle back extension and plantar flexion (so-called ankle pump), under the protection of the protective gear, can be started as long as it is not painful. But absolutely avoid using the ankle joint for valgus movement.

Ice: cold swollen areas (ice cubes, ice packs, cold products, etc.) for 10-15 minutes, several times a day (can be once every 2 hours). Do not allow ice cubes to directly contact the skin. Use a towel to isolate them to avoid frostbite. Cold compresses can relieve swelling and pain, constrict blood vessels to reduce bleeding, and relieve muscle spasms. Cold compresses are a better method and can be performed during the entire rehabilitation process.

Compression: You can use elastic bandage to pressurize. It can prevent continued bleeding and prevent severe ankle swelling. The ankle joint is not recommended to be fixed with a viscous support band before the swelling subsides. Some ankle braces also have compression function.

Elevation: Try to raise the calf and ankle above the heart level (for example, lie down and put a few pillows under the leg). The correct way to raise the lower limbs should be: the ankle joint exceeds the knee joint, the knee joint exceeds the hip joint, and the hip joint exceeds the body level.

Modality: Early physiotherapy such as ultrasound or laser can be used to control swelling and pain.

Medication: medical treatment, if the pain and swelling are more serious, it is recommended to take anti-inflammatory analgesics and edema control drugs under the guidance of a doctor. These medicines are mainly taken orally. I usually don't recommend the use of topical medicines in the acute phase, which can easily irritate the locally swollen skin and even cause the epidermis to break.

Intramuscular patch: Intramuscular patch (claw sticking method) in the acute phase can effectively relieve local swelling and help relax related muscle groups. In general, two points need to be noted: 1) pay attention to the lymphatic reflux of the ankle; 2) choose a better material to prevent adhesive stimulation and damage to the already swollen and fragile skin. After the acute phase, the ankle joint reinforcement fixation method can be used.

Crutches: It is recommended to use crutches when you need proper activities, don't be afraid of ugliness. It can make the injured foot not bear weight, better protect the brake, and ensure the safety of activities.