Ankle Sprain Self Treatment

These exercise are a practical self treatment programme but should only be progressed after you have a medical diagnosis of a simple ankle injury. If your pain persists or increases, seem specialist advice.

In The First 48 Hours

An ankle sprain is an injury to the soft tissue around the ankle- we recommend that you follow the advice below to help speed up after your recovery.

In the first 48 hours after injury, we recommend:

-Rest as much as you can and only walk when absolutely necessary

-Cover a pack of frozen peas, or handful of ice with a thin, damp towel or tea towel and apply to the ankle for 10-20 minutes every 2 hours

-Wearing a tubegrip pr bandage during the day is beneficial but always remove it at night

-Keep leg elevated when you are not walking, supporting your heel on pillows or cushions. Try to keep your heel above your hip

– Painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen can be bought at the chemist or supermarket. Always check the label before use.

Post Injury 48 Hours

After 48 hours we recommend:

– Try to walk as normally as possible

-Every couple of hours you should aim to do 10-20 repetitions of your exercises, move the ankle slowly in all directions (see photographs below) going to the start of the pain and back.


Once you are relatively pain free on walking and on ankle movements, the following stretching exercises should be performed.

There are two different ways to stretch out your calf muscle:

Exercise 3
-Keep your heel flat on the ground and your knee

Exercise 4
-Keep our heel on the ground and bend your knee.

Hold each stretch for 20 seconds and do 3 repetitions, twice a day.


After an ankle injur you will robably notice that your ability to balance on your injured leg is compromised

Exercise 5
-Try standing on your affected leg, whilst raising the other leg

Exercise 6
-Progress to standing on your affected leg and at the same time touch the ground in front, then behind your foot, with your hand.

N.B Pain is your guideline to progress

Progress by increasing the repetition and frequency of the exercises. If any exercises increases your pain or swelling, stop and if necessary use ice.


Once your ankle movements have improved and equal to the other leg start the following strengthening exercises.

Exercise 7
-Step up and down on the first step of a staircase or something similar.
Start with 10 steps, 3-4 times a day. Increase gradually as pain allows.

Exercise 8
-Go up and down on both tiptoes.
Do this 10 times, 4 times a day. As strength improves, progress this exercise by going up onto tiptoes of affected leg only.

Symptoms Resolved

How quickly will symptoms resolve?
-Acute ankle sprains normally resove with these exercises within 8-12 weeks.

As these exercises get easier, you can increase the number of times you repeat them