How many of us have rolled, twisted, sprained or strained our ankle? Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries, but unfortunately for many, are left untreated and ignored.
The ankle joint is made up of three bones, shaped to stabilise the lower leg and the foot. Ligaments connect these bones together and help reinforce and prevent unnecessary movement.
What happens when the ankle is injured/sprained?
A sudden movement, twist or pivot; commonly on the lateral/outer ankle, can overstretch the supporting ligaments. This can cause ligament tears, bleeding and inflammation around the ankle joint.
-swelling (within minutes or over several hours)
– pain to the ankle joint, especially when weight-bearing or walking.
Ankle sprains are most commonly seen in sports which involve jumping, side-to-side movement (basketball and netball) and running.
If someone has previously sprained their ankle, they are usually prone to reoccurring injuries, especially if not treated properly.
Immediate treatment (first aid)
– STOP activity
– REST ankle joint
-ICE effected area for 24 hours, every hour for 15-20minutes. This helps ease pain and decrease the inflammation around the joint.
-COMPRESS with a bandage from the foot to the lower calf
Ongoing treatment, after two days of injury OR for recurring ankle sprains
The ligaments of the ankle joint are usually loose and weaker after an ankle sprain. Therefore a rehabilitation program with a number of strengthening and stretching exercises is need a) to increase healing rate, b) strengthen weak muscles (the peroneals; muscles on the outer lower leg) to help stabilise the ankle joint better and c) prevent recurring ankle sprains.
A Podiatrist can help!
A Podiatrist can assist in the management and treatment of your ankle sprain and help you get back-on-track quicker!
- Exercise programs to improve mobility of the joint
- Exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the ankle (peroneal muscles)
- Advice on taping and ankle braces for use during activity
- Appropriate shoewear advice and education
- The use of a wobble board, balance disc and/or theraband to encourage balance and improve the proprioceptive deficit.
NOTE: If you are unable to weight-bear or walk on the effected foot, seek medical attention immediately. An X-ray may be needed to rule out a fracture.
Suggestions to prevent ankle sprains include:
– Warm up prior to exercise – include movements that are specific to the sport you are about to play.
– Wear appropriate shoes for your foot type and sport.
– Consider ankle braces or tape, only as prescribed by Podiatrist
Have further questions about this blog? Don’t hesitate to contact us!
Better Health Channel 2013, Ankle Sprains, viewed 24th April, <http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Ankle_sprains>