On average, 1.7 million Australians experience some form of strain/sprain each year and an ankle sprain is a common injury.

Whether your kid sprains their ankle during weekend sport, you slip at home, or roll your ankle in a new pair of shoes, it’s important to know how to treat an ankle sprain to ensure a speedy recovery. 


The most common symptoms are:

  • Pain in the ankle joint – felt when moving the ankle or walking
  • Tenderness – pain when the ankle is touched
  • Restricted motion – unable to use the ankle normally
  • Swelling – usually occurring in minutes or over the next few hours.


An ankle sprain occurs when a sudden movement, such as a jolt, twist or roll occurs, which can overstretch the supporting ligaments. The ligament can tear causing bleeding around the joint.

This is a common injury that usually happens during physical activity, for example, sports that require running or jumping. Some people are prone to recurring ankle sprains, however, in some cases targeted exercise can help prevent them.


Maintaining a healthy fitness level and doing exercises to improve your balance can help to avoid spraining your ankle.

Ankle exercises can help to maintain strength, flexibility and stability in your ankle joint, preventing injury.

Some recommended ankle exercises include:

  • Toe tapping
  • Standing heel raises
  • Stand on one foot
  • Ankle circles and alphabet.

These ankle exercises will help strengthen the most vulnerable joints in the leg.


If you are suffering from a sprained ankle it is important to do the following:

  • Rest the injured ankle
  • Ice the injured joint every two hours, for at least 15 minutes
  • Wrap the joint firmly, continue wrapping up the calf and down the foot
  • Elevate the ankle above heart height.

How to wrap a sprained ankle

There are several important steps to follow when wrapping an ankle:

  • Wrap the tape twice around the ball of the foot below the toes
  • Wrap the bandage a few times around the foot and ankle in a figure-eight pattern
  • Keep the bandage tight but make sure circulation is not cut off
  • Finish by wrapping the bandage twice just above the ankle
  • Use a fastener to adhere the bandage
  • Make sure the ankle is unable to move but the bandage is not uncomfortably tight.

When to see a doctor

Although somewhat trivial, a sprained ankle is nothing to laugh at. It is essential to receive the right advice and treatment, as a sprain can have long-term ramifications.

If symptoms such as swelling and discomfort continue for over a few days, it is best to seek medical advice.

A sprain may require rehabilitation to ensure the injury continues to heal and improve. A guided program by a physiotherapist is created to decrease the risk of ongoing pain and recurrent injury.

Home doctor experts at House Call Doctor recommend consulting a GP for further advice.