Ankle sprain – the quick fix for your rolled ankle

  • Ankle sprains occur after a rapid and uncontrolled “roll” of the ankle
  • Swelling and/or bruising indicates structural damage, usually involving a ligament or bone
  • The pain can often worsen over the first 1-2 days due to the body’s acute inflammatory response. This does not mean the injury is getting worse though

arch of foot
Check out the “Ottawa Ankle Rules” for a quick screening procedure for fractures.


  • Don’t take anti inflammatory meds (eg. Nurofen, Advil, Voltaren) in the first 3 days as it can worsen any bleeding and swelling
  • Compression is the most important part of the RICE approach (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
  • Around 7% of ankle sprains involve cartilage damage inside the ankle, delaying recovery and causing recurrent swelling


  • Fractures can cause less pain and swelling than torn ligaments in the early stages – don’t assume it’s not fractured because you can walk in it.
  • Crutches won’t speed up recovery so avoid them unless absolutely necessary or recommended by a health practitioner
  • Despite being widely recommended, ice packs have not been shown to improve injury severity or recovery time

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