Ankle sprains are common and painful, frequently the result of a sporting accident although it is also possible to sprain or ‘roll’ your ankle by just walking on even ground. This occurs when the joint is pushed past it’s normal range of movement causing overstretching and tearing of the ligament.
Ligaments are strong bands of elastic connective tissue that connect bone to bone. The most common is injury to the outside (lateral) ligament of the ankle.
Signs and symptoms: Pain, swelling, loss of power or ability to bear weight, possible discolouration and bruising.
Ankle ligament injuries are graded as 1 (mild), 2 (moderate) or 3 (severe) – the degree of severity will dictate recovery time as will how well the injury is managed and rehabilitated.
Early treatment R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression and elevation) and avoiding the H.A.R.M factors (heat, alcohol,running/activity,massage) are essential.
Starting physio within a day of the injury injury means quicker recovery with return to full flexibility, strength and function.
As ankle sprains are quite common they are unfortunately not always taken seriously and managed well, which is why many physiotherapists see people who repeatedly sprain their ankles before they eventually seek professional help. One of the main reasons re-injury occurs is poor “proprioception”
Proprioception is the process by which the body can vary muscle contractions in immediate response to incoming information regarding external forces, by utilizing stretch receptors in the muscles to keep track of the joint position in the body…. in other words, balance and being able to quickly correct your joint position to prevent unsafe or excess movement.
A well planned proprioception re-training program is essential to ensure you are ready for a safe return to sport.
There are several other reasons why people suffer recurrent ankle injuries – many of these can be helped by physiotherapy. We can asses your ankle – balance, flexibility, strength, walking and running’ bio-mechanics’ and also assess your feet, knees, hips or pelvis for weakness or tightness that might need to be addressed to lower the chance of injury when you return to sport. Taping or bracing to return to sport following ankle sprain may be required, discuss this with your physio to get the best result.
Physiotherapists are the movement experts, able to set you up with a personalized rehab program to help you return to your sport as safely and quickly as possible and provide the best advice should further investigations be required, such as an X-ray or MRI.
For more information, contact Jurien Bay Physiotherapy or follow this link to Sports Medicine Australia 719-SMA-InjuryBrochure-ankle_web