With the majority of your weight being transmitted through your ankles when you walk, all it takes is some uneven ground and a lack of concentration and you have the recipe for an ankle sprain. As physiotherapists we see numerous ankle sprains each year, ranging from sporting injuries to high heeled dancing disasters!
What is an Ankle Sprain?
The bones in your ankle are held together by ligaments. The most common ligament injured is the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) which is located on the outside of the ankle. The reason for this is that around 80% of all ankle sprains involve the foot being twisted inwards and the ankle rolling over towards the little toe, therefore stretching the lateral ligaments.
Ankle ligament sprains are graded as follows depending on their severity:
Grade 1- Mild damage to a ligament without instability of the ankle joint
Grade 2- Partial tearing of the ligament, making it loose and having some effect of ankle stability
Grade 3- A complete tear of the ligament causing instability of the ankle joint
Advice for the Initial Management after an Ankle Sprain
The two acronyms that you need to remember are RICE and do no HARM.
Rest from any activity
Ice your ankle for 20 minutes every 2 hours for the first 48-72 hours after injury
Compression wrap or elasticated bandage should be applied to the area after in between using the ice but make sure that you remove this at night
Elevate your ankle above the level of your hip
Do no HARM
How Can Physiotherapy help with your ankle injury?
Our expert physiotherapists will carry out an in depth examination of your ankle to make sure that there is no other damage either to the bones of other soft tissues. We will be able to advise you if we feel any further investigations such as an X-ray are indicated.
The most important initial aim after sustaining an ankle sprain is to recover your full range of movement and this may include a combination of stretching exercises and gentle manual therapy. We will be able to advise you about the use of ongoing ice or elevation and how to modify your activities depending on the severity of your sprain. As time progresses we will work with you to strengthen your ankle up again and improve your balance and agility so that you can return to your normal sports or activities. This is important as there is a high risk of re-injury after an ankle sprain which is greatly reduced by participating in a progressive, structured rehabilitation programme. Other techniques may be used such as taping your ankle to facilitate muscle recovery or improve your stability.
Our Chartered Physiotherapists are here to promote your recovery, so if you have sustained an ankle injury recently or one that is not recovering then call us today on 01202 725090 to book an appointment.