Rolling an ankle is one of the most common injuries in sports. It’s called a “rolled” ankle because the ligaments on the outside of your ankle are stretched or torn. It is caused by twisting or turning your foot or ankle too quickly or forcefully, usually when you twist your foot and ankle in opposite directions.

Symptoms of a rolled ankle include swelling, bruising, and pain. You may also have trouble walking or putting weight on your foot.

The symptoms of a rolled ankle depend on the severity of the injury. For example, a more serious injury may cause you to have trouble walking or put weight on your foot. A less serious injury may only cause some pain and swelling.

The most common type of rolled ankle is called a lateral ankle sprain, which occurs on the outside of the ankle:

  • The anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL)

  • The calcaneofibular ligament (CFL)

  • The posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL)

This often happens when there has been a sudden change in direction, such as stepping badly on uneven ground, stepping off a curb, landing on someone else’s foot, tripping over an object, or simply mis-stepping.

You should see a doctor if you have severe pain, swelling, or bruising after an ankle sprain. If you feel any numbness or tingling in your foot or leg, contact your doctor immediately as this may indicate nerve damage. If you have any concerns at all, we recommend getting an x-ray, because it will tell you if there is a fracture, which would require immobilizing the ankle completely for a while.

If you do not have a fracture, then the best treatment is to start a good rehab program as soon as possible. You do NOT want to wait to start rehabbing a rolled ankle, because the longer you wait, the more the injury will set in and could cause long-term damage.

That being said, rehab also works extremely well for older injuries or chronic ankle pain. Whether your ankle injury is new or old, the best way to fix a rolled ankle is through rehab. It strengthens the ligaments and muscles in the foot, ankle and calf and provides much needed stability. In addition, you will be significantly improving healthy range of motion, which is absolutely critical for full healing.

Even if you have a bad rolled ankle and cannot put any pressure on it at all, there are still a lot of important rehab strategies you can do to start healing quickly. These include improving healthy circulation, breaking up scar tissue, resetting the central nervous system, supporting the immune system and improving lymphatic drainage. Fortunately, a great ankle rehab program like HEM makes it super easy to do all of this at home, without any equipment.

So, if you are looking to fix a rolled ankle, please start HEM Ankle Rehab or go see an excellent physical therapist to make sure you can heal fully and quickly. It is worth the effort to make sure you heal correctly and do not have weak, painful ankles for years to come. Instead, your ankles will be strong, stable and have full range of motion, ensuring you can get back to your favorite hobbies and sports safely.