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Just got an ankle sprain? What returning to sport will look like.

Picture of an ankle under skin

Hello fellow sports enthusiasts! So, you've been sidelined by a pesky ankle sprain, and now you're itching to get back into the game. We're diving deep into the stats and data to guide you on the road to recovery. 

Understanding Ankle Sprains:

First things first, let's wrap our heads around what happens when your ankle decides to do the unexpected tango with a sprain. Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries, accounting for a significant chunk of the sports injury pie in Singapore. According to a study by the Singapore General Hospital, ankle sprains make up approximately 30% of all sports-related injuries in the Lion City.

Now, here's the kicker – about 85% of these sprains involve the lateral ligaments on the outside of the ankle. Picture this: you're dribbling down the basketball court, and suddenly, a misstep leads to a classic ankle roll. Ouch! It's a tale as old as time, but fear not, because the road to recovery is paved with stats and science.

The Road to Recovery:

Patience is key when it comes to healing those ligaments and getting back into action. On average, mild to moderate ankle sprains can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks to heal, while severe sprains might require a more extended timeout of up to 12 weeks. But who's counting, right?

During the initial phase of recovery, the R.I.C.E method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) becomes your best buddy. It's like the kaya toast and soft-boiled eggs of ankle rehabilitation – a classic combo. According to a study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, this method helps reduce pain and swelling, paving the way for a smoother recovery.

Let's Talk Rehab:

Once you've mastered the art of R.I.C.E, it's time to graduate to the rehab playbook. Studies have shown that structured rehabilitation programs with a physiotherapist, emphasising strength, balance, and flexibility exercises, significantly decrease the risk of re-spraining that ankle.

A study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) found that individuals who followed a tailored exercise regimen had a significantly lower recurrence rate of ankle sprains compared to those who skipped the rehab drills. It's like having a secret weapon in your arsenal against future ankle mishaps.

Return to Play Guidelines:

So when can you finally dust off those soccer cleats or basketball sneakers? Return to play (RTP) guidelines are your roadmap to safely rejoining the game without risking a setback.

Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine highlights that a stepwise progression, involving functional tests and sport-specific drills, is crucial for a successful return. Don't rush it, my friend. Gradual reintroduction to your sport of choice not only reduces the chances of re-injury but also ensures you're firing on all cylinders when you step back onto the field.

The Stats Speak:

Studies show that athletes who adhere to a structured RTP protocol have a significantly lower re-injury rate, with some sources indicating a decrease of up to 70%. That's not just a statistic – it's your golden ticket to a resilient and robust return to sports.

Psychological Readiness:

Now, let's delve into the mental game. Returning to sports after an ankle sprain isn't just about physical readiness – your mind needs to be in the game too. Research from the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation emphasises the importance of psychological readiness, including factors like confidence, fear of re-injury, and coping skills.

Engaging in mental training, visualisation techniques, and building a positive mindset can be as crucial as those squats and lunges in ensuring you're mentally prepared to tackle the challenges that come with competitive sports.


There you have it, our playbook for making a triumphant return to the sports arena after an ankle sprain. Have a chat with our physiotherapists and you’ll be equipped to navigate the journey from injury to victory.

Remember, it's not just about the destination but the steps you take along the way. The field awaits, and with the right approach, you'll be scoring goals and making slam dunks in no time!

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