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Common Ankle Sprains

What is the common ankle sprain?

Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in sport. This usually occurs when people “roll their ankle” which is usually when the foot goes in with respect to the ankle joint.

When this happens quite often ligaments on the outside of the ankle (that usually stop that motion) can become damaged. In more severe cases, supporting muscles/tendons, bone or cartilage can also be injured.

The biggest risk factor for a sprained ankle, is a previously sprain ankle. So it is important to rehabilitate these efficiently to reduce your risk of re-injury.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain on the outside of the ankle joint near the bone
  • Swelling over the area of pain
  • Bruising that can extend into the foot and toes
  • Pain when moving the foot inwards
  • Difficulty walking comfortably

What should I do if I have sprained my ankle?

The first 2 days are important for a speedy recovery. For any soft tissue injuries follow RICER for 48-72 hours and avoid HARM.

Ankle Sprains
For 48 hours
20mins on / 20mins off for 2 hrs; then 20mins every 4 hours
Use a bandage – ensure you do not wear it overnight
Use pillows to help elevate the area
See a Physio ASAP for appropriate treatment and rehab
Causes increased swelling
Increases swelling and bleeding
Increased blood flow and swelling, may damage tissue further
May cause further damage

Get an assessment with one of our Physiotherapists! There are a number of ligaments and structures that could be damaged. Assessment is vital for optimal rehabilitation.

How long will it take to get better?

Recovery time is usually dependent on severity of the injury and whether other structures are involved.

Ligament sprains can be classified into 3 Grades. Grade 1 being a minor sprain, with Grade 3 being a complete rupture of the ligament.

Assessment by your Physiotherapist is vital to assess what Grade your ankle sprain is, how many ligaments are damaged, and whether there are other bony or soft tissue damage that has occurred.

What can a Physiotherapist do for me?

Once the damage has been assessed, the Physiotherapist will identify the key areas of treatment and construct a rehabilitation/treatment plan.
Depending on the stage of your pathology treatment may include any of the following:
  • Activity modification
  • Manual therapy to decrease pain and restore normal movement
  • Taping/bracing
  • Specific and progressive therapeutic exercise program focusing on balance and strength
  • Sport/activity specific rehabilitative exercises.
  • Other modalities such as hot or cold packs, or dry needling
  • Sports technique correction (may need input from an experienced coach)
  • Referral for imaging studies or to other health practitioners if indicated

Want specific advice for your individual situation? Make an appointment today on (07) 3846 4800.

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