This article discusses the major differences between minor and severe ankle sprains.

Minor ankle sprains

Minor ankle sprains are very common. Everyone has experience it at some stage in their life, some more than others. This often happens during some sort of activities, e.g. sports, walking, running, gym, etc. Ankle sprains are related to the joint and ligaments around the ankle. An ankle sprain can happen on either side of the ankle, depending on the activity and position of the person. Minor ankle sprains often rights itself very quickly and have minimal pain or discomfort. For most people, they can walk on it almost straight away. Some may require some rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E) but generally no post-trauma issues. If this tends to occur regularly and is hindering regular activities, it may be due to weak ankles and ligaments. It is important to strengthen the ankle after injury to reduce the risk of re-injuring the ankle. Balancing exercises and resistance exercises can help to strengthen the ankle. Strapping and ankle guards during activities can also reduce the risk of ankle sprains during activities. Prolong and regular minor ankle sprains will cause weakness and this could lead to severe ankle sprains or torn ligaments. If this issue is reoccurring and causing concern, it is always best to consult your local podiatrist about the issue.

Severe ankle sprains

Severe ankle sprains often happen during high impact or contact sports. This can happen anytime, even without previous ankle injuries. This type of injury is often accompanied with pain, swelling and bruising. The bruising may not appear instantly but when it appears, it will take a few days to subside. If a severe ankle sprain occurs, it is very important to rest, ice, compress and elevate the foot (R.I.C.E). The ice and elevation will reduce the swelling and inflammatory process and therefore reducing the damage on the ankle and aids the recovery process. Wrapping a firm bandage from the ball of the foot and gently up the ankle, covering 1/3 of the leg, will reduce the swelling and provide support. A severe ankle sprain can cause tears in the ligaments, tears in the muscle tendons or sometimes cause a fracture in the bone.  If in doubt or the pain and swelling hasn’t subsided in 2 days, a consult to the podiatrist or the GP is highly recommended. A severe ankle sprain often takes 1-2 weeks to fully recover but the rehab can be a long process as it is very important to strengthen the joint, ligaments and tendons involved. If the rehab is not done or done properly, it will make the risk of ankle sprain double and more frequent. Balancing and strengthening exercises are required to aid the recovery of the ankle. Sometimes, strapping or ankle support can also help to reduce the strain on the area and therefore reduce pain. Consult your local podiatrist or physiotherapist about a personalized rehab program to get you back on track.


Situated at 1199 High St, Armadale, More Than Physio offers Physiotherapy, Clinical Pilates, Podiatry, Massage and TCM within the Armadale, Malvern, Toorak, Bentleigh and McKinnon communities.