Foot injury with stretched ankle ligaments

A foot injury, in which the ankle ligaments are stretched, is a common injury that can be suffered in everyday life as well as in sports. This injury usually occurs because the ankle suddenly twists, damaging the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. If the injury is not accompanied by a bone fracture, it is a sprain, which can occur in mild or severe degrees.

Mild sprain

With a mild sprain, the ankle can still be loaded without too many problems. In that case, no doctor needs to be called and no emergency care is necessary. In case of a mild sprain, it is good to cool the ankle with cold water or ice, which should not be held directly against the skin. The ankle can then be bandaged with a non-elastic bandage. The day after sustaining the injury, the ankle will be stiffer and more painful than on the day itself, but this can be remedied as much as possible after some practice by moving the foot. These exercises can be extended for several days in a row.

More severe sprain and difficulty walking

In the case of a more serious sprain, which is characterized by the fact that the ankle cannot bear weight, it is necessary to consult a doctor. The ankle will then become swollen and very painful. This swelling can often only be noticed ten to thirty minutes after sustaining the injury. In most cases, walking becomes difficult with a severe sprain and no pressure should be applied to the foot. Sometimes a GP will refer the patient to the Emergency Department. To ensure that there is no bone fracture, an X-ray can be taken.

Treatment of foot injuries with stretched ankle ligaments

The treatment of stretched ankle ligaments is usually done by applying a pressure bandage, with the express advice not to put any weight on the ankle for about five days and to use crutches when walking. It is also advisable to keep the leg elevated as much as possible during that period, placing the ankle higher than the hips and knee. Prevent the foot from becoming stiff during those days by regularly moving the toes and the back of the foot.

Recovery period

After that first period, a new investigation is necessary. The foot is usually then taped. If everything goes well, wearing an elastic stocking is sometimes sufficient for further recovery. During recovery, crutches can still be used, but the foot must be put under some weight. The foot must also be rolled out properly. The walking periods can be increased slowly. At a certain point, one crutch can be omitted and if that goes well, the use of the other crutch can also be omitted. It is better to wait two to three weeks before starting to exercise again and the pain must first disappear completely. In most cases, normal sporting activities can be fully resumed after the ankle has healed.


Exercises that can be performed during the recovery period include:

  1. Alternate standing on your heels and toes ten to twenty-five times.
  2. Stand on one leg (injured leg) and hold for about two minutes, trying to maintain balance without holding on. It is wise to do this exercise close to a wall or other support so that a fall is prevented if balance is lost.
  3. Perform a barefoot calf stretch with your feet together and your knees bent forward while your heels remain on the floor. The forward movement must then be maintained for a count of eight. This exercise should be done three to five times. If necessary, the hands can be held against a wall to maintain balance.
  4. Walking on toes with the heel just barely lifting the ground. Walking high on your toes is less effective.

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