Ankle Sprain Advice

Cork Emergency Departments

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An ankle sprain is an overstretching or tearing of one or more ankle ligaments. They usually involve the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle.

R.I.C.E. procedure for treatment of ankle sprain


Rest reduces further damage. You should stop over vigorous activity.


Ice cools the tissue and reduces pain, swelling and bleeding. Place ice wrapped in a damp towel onto the injured area - don't put ice directly onto bare skin. Keep ice on the injury for 20 minutes every two hours for the first 48 hours.


Firm bandaging may occasionally reduce bleeding and swelling.


Elevation helps to stop bleeding and reduce swelling. Raise the injured area on a pillow. When resting keep the injured ankle raised.

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Some suggested exercises

Ankle Exercises

Begin gently: With your weight off the foot move it up/down, in/out, circle it and wriggle your toes.

Try each action 5 times and repeat 5 times a day.

Little and often is the secret.

These can be done earlier on if the pain permits You can add resistance to these exercises by using a long thin piece of stretchy rubber (like a bicycle inner tube) or a long towel or scarf.

Progress to sitting: Here you can slide the foot forwards and backwards along the floor

Progress to these exercises as the pain and swelling improve

Progress to standing: First with both legs, then with one leg., holding onto the wall for support to start with a) stand on tip-toe, then lean back on your heels and raise up your toes b) balance on one leg, deliberately wobble and then try and regain your balance

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Once you've mastered this, try it with your eyes closed.

After a week to ten days, you should be able to hop and then turn on the ankle. Test turning with a slow figure of eight walk (then jog). After 10 - 14 days you should be able to run forwards and backwards, stop suddenly, hop on the sore ankle and run a figure of eight without feeling that the ankle is overly painful or unstable. Recovery may take longer than you expect. You should return to sporting competition only after you feel 100% confident in your playing ability. If in doubt, please contact your GP or the Emergency Department (numbers above).

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If you are concerned, please contact the Emergency Department you first attended:

Mercy Injury Unit, Gurranabraher (021)4926900

LIU Mallow(022)58506

LIU Bantry(027)52900

Content by Dr Íomhar O' Sullivan Reviewed 07/04/2007. Last reviewed Dr IOS 17/06/21.