In a prospective study, 150 patients with lesions of lateral ankle ligaments were treated with early mobilization without any fixation of the ankle. After 8 days, 67% were free from pain on ordinary walking and 81% had resumed work. After 1 month 90% were free from pain and 97% had resumed work. Sport was resumed by 70% of athletes after 1 month and 90% after 3 months. At the 1-year follow-up (n = 137), 18% were not fully recovered and experienced pain (14%) or functional instability (7%) or had not resumed sport at their normal level (7%). However, only 8% found the condition inconvenient. Athletes had an increased risk of residual symptoms (p less than 0.01) and residual symptoms occurred in 32% of top athletes after 1 year.