Phil Pask’s Ankle Sprain Rehabilitation Program

This ankle sprain rehabilitation program has been developed by Phil Pask, England Senior Rugby Team Physiotherapist since 1997. During that time he has also been a senior physiotherapist on the last 4 British and Irish Lions Tours. Here he shares the treatment and rehabilitation methods he has found useful dealing with not only elite level International players but also for athletes of all ages and abilities in an easy to follow programme.

What’s included?

  • Full step by step rehabilitation program
  • Created by world leading expert Phil Pask.
  • More than 70 rehabilitation exercises
  • Expert advice & explanations at each stage
  • Video demonstrations
  • Daily tasks lists & record sheets.
  • Add notes online

Learn more:


The program guides you through 4 phases from initial injury through to full fitness. Each phases consists of the treatment, physiotherapy and exercises. A simple video explains what you need to do at each stage and what to expect. You must meet the exit criteria of each phase before moving onto the next stage.

Program structure

Phil’s Ankle sprain rehabilitation program is based around 4 phases with an additional 5th phase designed to prevent your anke sprain recurring.

Phase 1

Phase 1 is the initial acute phase and begins as soon as possible after injury and continues at least until you can walk pain free. The emphasis is on stopping any bleeding in the joint and reducing swelling. Rest is essential, however, after the first 24 hours it is often possible to begin some mobility and activation exercises.

Phase 2

Phase 2 as an intermediate phase and can take two to three weeks. The aim is to begin to introduce load onto your ankle to help the healing process, but still protecting the joint.

Phase 3

Phase 3 is late stage basic rehabilitation where you can begin to increase the load on your ankle. You can begin to introduce more functional or sports specific exercises, but making sure you have no increase in pain or swelling.

Phase 4

Phase 4 is end stage rehabilitaiton where the aim is to return to full sports fitness and competition. Rehabilitation exercises become more advanced and demanding now to not only get you back to full training, but help avoid future injuries.

Phase 5

Phase 5 is a maintenance or ‘injury mitigation’ program where you select exercises from phases 3 and 4 to integrate into your normal training routine.

Ankle Sprain Rehabilitation Program elements

The program includes the following treatment methods and exercises.

Hot & cold therapy

Cold therapy is used as part of the PRICE principles of protection, rest, compression, ice and elevation. The aim is to reduce pain and swelling.

Sports massage

Sports massage is applied to the joint and lower leg muscles to help reduce swelling by aiding flow of tissue fluids away from the site of injury. Cross friction massage can also be applied to the injured ligament itself.

Mobility exercises

Mobility exercises maintain joint range of motion and flexibility of the lower leg muscles.

Activation exercises

Activation exercises are important for keeping other muscles in the hips and legs firing and in good condition. They prevent them tightening up and weakening and so speed up your return to full fitness later in the program.

Strengthening exercises

Strengthening exercises for the ankle joint itself begin with simple techniques which avoid stressing injured tissues and progress to advanced plyometric type rehabilitation exercises.

Proprioception Movement control exercises

When you injure your ankle you also damage the proprioception. This is important for movement control and awareness of where your ankle is in space. Proprioception or ‘movement control’ exercises improve your balance and coordination, essential for ankle strength and preventing re-injury.

Functional exercises

Functional exercises are more activity or sport specific. They bridge the gap between basic rehabilitation exercises and the demands of full sports competition.

Exit criteria

Before progressing onto the next phase of ankle rehabilitation you need to meet specific ‘exit criteria’. Answer a few questions in our short progress check quizzes to help you decide if you are ready to move on.

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