The steps to recovery after spraining your ankle

Ankle injuries are one of the most common we see in sports across Australia.

From running, jumping and pivoting in sports such as basketball and netball, to the quick changes of direction and kicking in sports such as soccer and football, your ankle is vital to your performance and everyday mobility.  

When your ankle is sprained, ligament structures are often torn and damaged during the injury. According to Sports Medicine Australia, 80% of ankle sprains occur on the lateral side of the ankle, when the foot twists inward, affecting the outer ligaments. As a result, long term rehabilitation is key to restoring balance and strength, while also avoiding the vicious cycle of recurrent sprains.  

48 hours after injury  

The first 48 hours after a soft tissue ankle injury plays a key role in your long-term recovery. The first step is to apply the RICE protocol of Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevate. These steps aim to reduce the immediate swelling and bruising of the ankle. It’s essential to recognise the injury, as brushing it off and continuing to play can lead to long-term damage. According to research, 30% of non-treated ankle injuries will result in chronic instability within a 12-month period. Therefore, taking proactive steps to your sprained ankle is the best move.  

3 to 6 weeks of rehabilitation   

When you visit Progressive Sports and Spinal Physiotherapy, your physiotherapist will learn about your history and will take you through a thorough assessment to determine the degree of severity and establish your path to rehabilitation. During the initial rehabilitation process, we use hands-on physiotherapy and strap your foot to support the ankle, allowing the ligaments and tissues to heal.  

Through massaging the muscles, we gradually promote flexibility and motion in the surrounding ligaments. In our Rehabilitation Gym, we use targeted exercises and training to strengthen your ankle and prepare you for your safe return to sport.  

Ongoing strengthening and prevention   

To help avoid the cycle of recurrent ankle sprains, ongoing treatment and prevention are vital. When returning to the sport you love, ensure that you are warming up and stretching to encourage joint mobility and flexibility, while also preparing the muscles for exercise. Ensure you have the correct protective equipment, such as strapping tape to secure the ankle and minimise joint movement during play. Wearing the right shoe that suits your gait and activity will also support your ankle. 

At Progressive Physio, we care about your health and rehabilitation, that’s why we take the steps to ensure your ankle recovery is managed and that your return to sport is safe. If you or a family member has recently sprained their ankle, book an appointment with our team. 

Elin, is an alumni of St. Edward’s University and holder of a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, furthered her academic journey by attaining a Doctor of Physiotherapy from Macquarie University in 2022.

Her passion for sports, particularly football (soccer), is evident in both her academic pursuits and personal endeavors. Specialising in the comprehensive well-being of athletes, Elin focuses on restoring them to peak performance while actively preventing future injuries.

Elin’s professional expertise is centered on musculoskeletal rehabilitation, with a specific emphasis on addressing and preventing knee injuries. Her approach integrates expert treatment with a commitment to educating and empowering patients, fostering their active involvement in enhancing their health and overall quality of life.

As an active participant in NPL football with SD Raiders, Elin brings firsthand experience and a profound understanding of the sport’s demands. Beyond the field, she extends her influence by contributing sports coverage over the weekends.

Christopher (Chris) Han graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Therapy, and then completed the Doctor of Physiotherapy program at Macquarie University in 2018. Chris is currently undertaking his PhD at the University of Sydney and Institute for Musculoskeletal Health in the field of low back pain and is due to complete this in early 2024. 

Chris is currently an assistant Physiotherapist for the NRL Referees. Chris has previous experience as the head Physiotherapist at Panthers Premier League Netball and a number of elite sporting athletes in the private setting.

Through Chris’ experiences, he has a particular interest in all areas of the body and musculoskeletal physiotherapy, sports, vestibular rehabilitation, and Men’s Health (pre and post prostate surgery).

Suzanne graduated from Western Sydney University with a Bachelor of Health Science (Sports and Exercise Science) in 2015. She then went on to continue her studies at Macquarie University graduating from the Doctor of Physiotherapy post-graduate degree in June 2019.

Since graduating, Suzanne has worked in the local Penrith area in both private practice and Sports Physiotherapy. Suzanne has worked with sporting teams including Penrith District Netball Association, Mt Druitt Rangers (NPL), Penrith Valley Figure Skating Club, and local dance and cheer schools. 

Suzanne has a particular interest in working with artistic athletes including cheerleaders and dancers. She has a professional background in both cheer and dance and has previously worked as both a cheer coach and dance teacher. Suzanne’s previous experiences are an invaluable resource to her as a physiotherapist, as she has a thorough understanding of the level of physical fitness and skill acquisition that these athletes must have in order to be successful on stage and in competition.

Suzanne’s other areas of clinical interest reside in lower limb musculoskeletal injuries, spinal pathologies and women’s health.

Nathanial graduated as a physiotherapist in 2012 which saw him work in private practice and hospital settings gaining experience in all areas of physiotherapy including hand therapy, splinting/casting, pre/post-operative care, Men’s Health and general musculoskeletal, occupational and sports physiotherapy. Since then he has gone on to complete further studies in physiotherapy enabling him to be the only dual titled Musculoskeletal, Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist in Penrith.

Nathanial has a strong background in sports physiotherapy achieving accreditation with NSWIS as a service provider and working with many elite sports teams.

Nathanial has a particular interest in working with elite athletes, complex cases and in particular assessment and management of knee, hip and shoulder pain.

Andrea graduated from the Australian Catholic University completing her Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science in 2018 and Master’s of Clinical Exercise Physiology in 2020. After graduating she attained accreditation with ESSA as an Exercise Physiologist.

During her studies she gained clinical experience in both hospital and private practice settings, in cardiac rehabilitation, neurological conditions, cancer and chronic musculoskeletal injuries.

Since working at Progressive, Andrea has a specialist interest in treating musculoskeletal injuries, helping people in the mid-late stage of rehab to get them to return to sport or work. As well as helping people manage chronic conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and diabetes.