• Acute lateral ankle sprains/ruptures

Acute lateral ankle sprains/ruptures

What is it?

Ankle_SprainAlthough the human ankle is well supported via multiple ligaments & tendons, ankle sprains are arguably the most common sports injury seen by sports physicians. In particular, lateral ankle sprains make up the bulk of this injury and occur by ‘rolling out’ your foot. This injury generally occurs in sports/activities that require rapid changes in direction such as; Netball, basketball, soccer and football.

Why did I get it?

It is well known that lateral ankle sprains are generally the result of accidental injury or trauma. There are however a number of risk factors that predispose individuals to the condition:

  • High arched feet
  • Poor footwear
  • Running style
  • Biomechanical abnormalities
  • Playing surface
  • Muscles weakness

How is it diagnosed?

A thorough clinical examination/history will generally be sufficient to diagnose a lateral ankle sprain/rupture. Depending on severity of symptoms, you may be referred for an ultrasound/x-ray to determine the grade of injury and to rule out further pathology e.g. fractures.


As with all sporting injuries, recovery time is dependent on the severity of the injury. The following is the prognostic grading system for lateral ankle sprains/ruptures.

  • Grade 1: 2-3 weeks (Partial tear of ligament, strength of ankle is maintained.
  • Grade 2: 4-6 weeks (Partial/complete tear of ligament, 2nd ligament also involved.
  • Grade 3: Varies significantly from 2-6 months (depending if surgery is required).


  • Rest, ice, compression, elevation
  • Rehabilitation program
  • Footwear advice
  • Custom Orthotics
  • Correcting biomechanical risk factors
  • Strengthening/proprioceptive training.
  • Foot mobilisation
  • Surgery (Grade 3 – if indicated)

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