The cross friction massage technique is used to do sports massage for ankle sprains. It helps to speed up the healing process and prevent scar tissue from developing. A sprained ankle is one of the most common types of ankle injury, particularly in sports. It results when the ankle ligaments stretch or even tear. Most often, an ankle sprain is caused by the ankle turning under so that the sole of foot is facing inwards, injuring the ligaments that are on the outside of the ankle. More rarely, the ankle will roll the other way and injure the ligaments on the inside of the ankle. Cross friction massage applied to the injured ligaments after the acute phase will help to prevent scar tissue from forming. This will now be done about five days after the ankle is sprained.

Wait at least 48 to 72 hours before you begin any massage, which should only be done in the sub-acute and acute stage.

Ensure that there are no contraindications such as a broken bone, open wound, skin infections, tendon ruptures, chilblains and the like. If any, you must not perform the massage.

Sit the person with the ankle sprain in a comfortable position. Stretch out the foot with the sprained ankle, so that the ligaments are in a stretched position.

Apply a deep, direct pressure on the ligament using a single finger. Begin the massage at a point that is slightly away from the sprained area, and then work your way gradually towards it. Massage deeply back and forth ACROSS the ligament, not along its length. You should feel the ligament under the skin.

Slowly begin to massage even deeper, but within the limits of bearable pain. Continue the massage for five to ten minutes. Tape the ankle or use an ankle support to support it.

Massage the ankle with the same technique every other day, not every day. After this deep-massage technique, the sprained ankle will need some time to recover. If the pain or swelling is worse the next day, then put off the massage again.


Do not use any oil or other lubricant, because the massage will be most effective if you have a good feel of the sprained ligaments. Using oil will make your fingers slick, and they won't function as well. By massaging perpendicular to the ligament rather than along its length, you are helping break up scar tissue up and to realign collagen fibers, which in turn speeds up healing.


It is essential that you have a sound knowledge of the ankle's anatomy and where the ligaments attach to, so as to know how best to massage the sprained ligaments.