Ankle Sprains and Strains

Ankle sprains and strains are common injuries from a fall, slip, playing sports, running, or just walking and tripping on uneven surfaces. A lateral (inversion) ankle sprain (rolling of the ankle) is the most common cause of injury. When the foot/ankle rolls inward, the three ligaments of the outer ankle are overstretched.

More severe sprains often occur during sports or other vigorous activities such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, or running. It has been found that a physical therapy program that includes functional stabilization and strengthening exercises has the best outcomes for ankle strains and sprains. 


Achille’s tendonitis

Signs & Symptoms

The symptoms of ankle sprains and strains can be similar, but there are some crucial distinctions. They both involve localized pain, ankle swelling, and instability. Still, the location and side effects of that pain and instability can differ depending on whether a muscle or ligament is involved.

Symptoms of an Ankle Sprain

  • Swelling and bruising
  • Pain
  • Mild heat and redness
  • Loss of movement and strength around the ankle and foot
  • Difficulty walking or going up or down stairs
  • Tingling, numbness, or pins and needles in the affected area


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Physical Therapy for Ankle Sprains and Strains

Prescribed exercise from a Physical Therapist reduces your risk for recurrent ankle sprains while expediting your recovery time. The Physical Therapists at Vita will work with you to design a specific treatment program, which typically includes:


  • Pain regulation through modalities such as taping, edema reduction, or dry needling
  • Strengthening exercises to stabilize the ankle/knee complex
  • Coordination/reactive motor control challenges to help retrain your knee and ankle movement patterns to reduce stress on ligaments and tendons
  • Cross-training guidance and progression to unrestricted jumping, running, cutting, and landing activities