Continued from previous page.

Ho Jiaying, Senior Physiotherapist from ​the Department of Physiotherapy at Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group, tackles the following questions on ankle sprains. 

When should I  see a doctor for an ankle sprain?

You should consult a doctor immediately if:

  • Your foot, ankle or leg is bent at an abnormal angle.
  • You can’t feel or move your foot, ankle or leg.
  • You have severe foot or ankle pain.
  • You feel a sudden coldness or tingling sensation in your foot or ankle immediately after spraining your ankle.

You should consult also a doctor if:

  • You are unable to walk on your ankle or feel unstable when walking on it.
  • There is no improvement in your ankle despite applying the RICE method.
  • You heard a popping or snapping sound when you sprained your ankle.
  • It’s not the first time you have a sprained ankle.

What are potential complications of an ankle sprain?

After an ankle sprain, the muscles around the ankle can get weaker. These muscles are important for ankle stability.

Thus if a sprained ankle is not treated properly, it may result in ankle instability, causing more ankle sprains in the future. Appropriate treatment is necessary to prevent recurrence.

How can physiotherapy help?

A physiotherapist can provide you with an individualised rehabilitation programme enabling you to return to pre-injury functional levels. Physiotherapy treatment may include:

  • Flexibility exercises for your ankle
  • Ankle muscle-strengthening exercises
  • Balancing exercises to improve your ankle proprioception (ability to sense the position and motion of your ankle)
  • Advice on taping and the use of ankle braces during activities

When does an ankle sprain require surgery?

Surgery for ankle sprains are usually done for those who are not responding well to conservative management (i.e. physiotherapy) or are having persistent recurrent ankle sprains despite undergoing an individualised rehabilitation programme. Surgical options include:

  • Arthroscopy – the surgeon will look inside the joint for any loose fragments of bone, cartilage or ligament and remove them if necessary.
  • Reconstruction – the surgeon will repair the torn ligaments resulting from your ankle sprain.

How can I avoid spraining my ankle?

Be sure to properly tape your ankles or wear ankle braces during activities as advised by your physiotherapist. Also,

  1. Maintain good ankle muscle strength and flexibility.
  2. Ensure proper warm-up prior to your exercise and include movements that are specific to your sport.
  3. Wear supportive, sport-appropriate footwear.
  4. Make sure to properly tape your ankles or wear ankle braces during activities as advised by your physiotherapist.
  5. Be careful when exercising on wet and/or uneven surfaces.
  6. Avoid wearing heels with a very narrow base or shoes that will throw you off balance.
  7. Be aware of your body's warning signs. Slow down or stop when you feel fatigue or pain.

See the previous page for the best way to treat an ankle sprain.

Ref: R14​

Check out our other articles on foot conditions:

Why Is It Important to Treat Ankle Sprains Promptly?

Ankle Arthritis: What Causes It and Tips To Minimise Risk

Heel Pain: Causes and Home Remedies

Bunion Treatment: Keyhole Surgery vs Conventional Surgery

How to Choose the Right Shoes (Our Podiatrist Offers Tips)