Lateral Ankle Sprain

The most common form of ankle sprain is a lateral ankle sprain. It results from the stretching or tearing of ligaments on the outside of the ankle. This can occur in an accidental movement that forces the ankle to turn under and the sole of the foot inward. Symptoms include pain, swelling, bruising, tenderness and warmth to the touch, and pain on the lateral (outside) portion of the ankle.

Treatment includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation for 24 to 28 hours postinjury


  • Wear shoes specific to your sport.
  • Perform strengthening exercises during the pre- and off-seasons.
  • Use tape or bracing for added stability.
  • Avoid running on uneven surfaces.


  • Begin with isometric exercises for full muscle contraction with no joint movement, as in pushing against a wall.
  • Stretch in order to restore full range of motion.
  • Isotonic exercises to further improve strength, such as resisted ankle motion exercises.
  • Balance to regain proprioception (sense of where your foot is in space).
  • Functional activities, such as walking, running, and jumping.
  • Sports-specific activities (movements specific to your individual sport).
Content on this page is for informational purposes only. If injured, please consult a physician.

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