Ankle Sprain - When To See The Doctor

By Athlete's Care on September 01, 2020

Ankle sprains are among the most common injuries, and our Toronto physiotherapy and sports medicine specialists typically see many cases related to them. In fact, it’s estimated that about 100,000 Canadians suffer an ankle sprain every year.

Toronto Physiotherapy for Ankle Sprain

When the ankle is sprained, the ligaments that connect the soft tissues to the bones of the complex joint are stretched or torn. In many cases, it’s a mild injury that can be adequately treated with home care. But, when should you draw the line, and seek medical attention? Here’s what you need to know.

There will be pain

An ankle sprain is a painful injury, unfortunately, even in relatively mild cases. There will also be:

  • swelling;
  • tenderness;
  • a feeling of twisting or slight dislocation.


You should still be able to put some weight on your ankle in mild to moderate cases, even if it is somewhat sore and tender. But, other than testing the severity of the injury briefly, you should rest. Use the RICE protocol for self care.

R: rest the ankle

I: use ice immediately after to minimize swelling

C: compression bandages will also help reduce swelling, and keep the ankle immobile to avoid aggravating the condition

E: elevate the ankle above the waist level

Signs of trouble

There are some symptoms that you shouldn’t ignore, no matter when they begin to occur – but particularly if they display from the beginning. Please see a medical professional if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Extreme bruising with a lot of blood and covering a large area;
  • Pronounced swelling that restricts movement and becomes uncomfortable;
  • Inability to bear weight on the foot, or with severe pain;
  • Cold or numbness in the area;
  • Signs of infection, such as heat in the area, redness, or extreme tenderness.

In more severe cases, medical interventions are needed. Our Toronto physiotherapy and chiropractic specialists may use braces or bandaging, and surgery may be required in the most extreme cases to repair the damage.

Take your time

Even when the sprain is mild, sufficient rest is required for the body to heal itself. You can’t speed up the process by ignoring the pain.

  • In most cases, it’s best to avoid high impact sports such as running and other athletics for four to six weeks.
  • Start slow, and begin by gradually working your way back up to your previous levels of performance.

If swelling continues beyond four or five days, or pain beyond a few weeks, or any other symptoms persist despite adequate rest, you should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Our Toronto physiotherapists, chiropractors and other sports medicine specialists are ready to help with advice and effective treatment options. Don’t hesitate to contact one of our Toronto physiotherapy clinics today.