Lateral Ankle Sprain

Lateral Ankle Sprain

A lateral ankle sprain (LAS) occurs when you twist or roll your ankle inward.This can happen by walking/running on an uneven surface, stepping on someone else’s foot, pivoting or changing direction during sport.The severity of the sprain can range from mild to severe.


Structures involved

Usually, this abrupt inward ankle twist or roll will lead to a stretch or
a tear, partial or complete, of the lateral ligament complex of your ankle. In the very moment preceding the sprain, your ankle muscles will tend to protect you with a forceful contraction. Sometimes, this can lead to muscle spasms and/or a small bone fracture where the muscle attaches to your foot.The peroneal nerve and the ligaments of your foot may also be overstretched during a lateral ankle sprain.




Signs & Symptoms that you may experience

Everyone will react differently after an injury and recovery will depend on the severity of the sprain. LAS can cause but is not limited to, pain, difficulty in weight-bearing activities, swelling, ecchymosis, pins & needles.



The severity of the sprain, your rehabilitation plan, your health status, your fitness level and your nutrition affect recovery time. Generally, you can expect to fully recover from a lateral ankle sprain.




Relative rest is a good way to protect your ankle against further damage, but it is important to avoid overprotecting your injury. A few days rest might be necessary, but returning to progressive loading during your activities of daily living, non-painful light cardiovascular exercise and balance exercise will allow better recovery.


Follow your practitioner’s advice. It will help you manage the different phases of the recovery process and will increase the likelihood of successful rehabilitation. Your practitioner will assist you during your rehabilitation program in order to regain your normal range of motion, strength and endurance, balance and functional status.


Don’t rely on passive treatment only. Each phase of the rehabilitation process is important. Patients that are actively involved in their treatment plan tend to recover faster. Keep in mind that pain is not always a good indicator of tissue damage as severe pain doesn’t necessarily mean a severe injury. As soon as you feel better and the pain is well managed in collaboration with your therapist, you should reintroduce light exercises as tolerated.


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