Lateral ankle sprains: a comprehensive review part 2: treatment and rehabilitation with an emphasis on the athlete

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Jul;31(7 Suppl):S438-47. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199907001-00005.


This is the second part of a two-part comprehensive review of lateral ankle sprains. In the first part of our review, we discussed the etiology, natural history, pathoanatomy, mechanism of injury, histopathogenesis of healing, and diagnostic approach to acute and chronic lateral ligamentous ankle injuries. Conservative intervention and treatment of grade I-III and chronic, recurrent sprains of the lateral ankle ligaments and appropriate rehabilitation guidelines are the topics of this article. We review the use and benefit of different modalities and external supports and outline our five-phase intervention program of rehabilitation based on the histopathogenesis of ligament healing. We discuss the expected timing of recovery of the acute injury as well as the management of chronic, recurrent ankle sprains. Treatment of acute ankle sprains depends on the severity of the injury. Conservative therapy has been found to be uniformly effective in treating grade I and II ankle sprains. Some controversy exists regarding the appropriate treatment of grade III injuries, particularly in high-level athletes. Our belief is that the majority of these patients may also be treated well with conservative management. Other options for the management of grade III sprains will be briefly discussed at the end of this article.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ankle Injuries / physiopathology
  • Ankle Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Ankle Injuries / therapy*
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / rehabilitation
  • Joint Instability / therapy
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Sprains and Strains / physiopathology
  • Sprains and Strains / rehabilitation
  • Sprains and Strains / therapy*