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5 False Beliefs about Lateral Ankle Sprains

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Lateral ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries to occur in sport, particularly those sports that involve change of direction. Below we will dive into 5 of the biggest myths associated with lateral ankle sprains to assist your management and understanding of this injury.

False belief #1: I need to rest and avoid movement following an ankle sprain

Whilst initially it is good to give the ankle a rest and reduce the loading of the joint, it is important to get the ankle moving as quickly as possible to prevent any stiffness. Moving the ankle in gentle motions throughout the early days post-injury can reduce muscle inhibition and increase range of movement.

False belief #2: I should take anti-inflammatory medication immediately after injury

Anti-inflammatory medication such as Nurofen or Voltaren should be avoided in the initial few days following injury. Some early evidence suggests that the inflammation that occurs following injury is an important and essential part of tissue healing. In the inflammatory response, special cells are recruited to the ankle which help to remove debris and actively start the healing process. Therefore, if we take anti-inflammatories too soon there can be a delayed healing response.

False belief #4: I sprain my ankle all the time – I don’t need to rehab it!

One of the biggest risk factors for a sprained ankle is a previous history of a sprained ankle (Delahunt et al., 2019). Recurrent ankle sprains can cause issues such as instability, weakness, stiffness and impingement. Chronic ankle instability is a common issue that we see in the physio clinic, and this can be rehabilitated to reduce issues into the future.

False belief #3: Taping or bracing will prevent me spraining my ankle in the future

The use of taping and bracing during sport can help to reduce the chances of a sprained ankle, however, they do not completely prevent injuries from occurring. Ultimately, rehabilitation is the long term solution to reducing recurrence of ankle sprains.

False belief #5: I need to be on crutches

Unless it is a severe ankle sprain or a suspected fracture, crutches are often not necessary for people with lateral ankle sprains. Putting some weight through the ankle and getting back into proper weight-bearing activities such as walking are beneficial for the ankle.

Have you had a recent or recurring ankle injury? Our Physiotherapists at The Movement Workshop are here to help! Caz Yii works from our clinic in South Melbourne and has a special interest in ankle injuries and has undergone further learning regarding the ankle. Feel free to contact us for more information or book in to see one of our physiotherapists.


Delahunt, E., & Remus, A. (2019). Risk factors for lateral ankle sprains and chronic ankle instability. Journal of athletic training, 54(6), 611-616.

Ghosh, N., Kolade, O. O., Shontz, E., Rosenthal, Y., Zuckerman, J. D., Bosco III, J. A., & Virk, M. S. (2019). Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and their effect on musculoskeletal soft-tissue healing: a scoping review. JBJS reviews, 7(12), e4.

McKeon, P. O., & Donovan, L. (2019). A perceptual framework for conservative treatment and rehabilitation of ankle sprains: an evidence-based paradigm shift. Journal of Athletic Training, 54(6), 628-638.

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