Ankle sprains are the most common musculoskeletal injury seen in people participating in sports or recreation. An ankle sprain usually occurs when you ‘roll’ your ankle while running, jumping, changing direction or on an uneven surface. This most commonly results in damage to the ligaments or muscles on the outside of the ankle that serve to stabilise the joint (lateral ankle sprains or ankle inversion injuries) although the ligaments on the inside of the ankle may also be injured. This results in pain, swelling and even bruising around the joint and can affect your ability to move the ankle and walk or run. Your balance may also be affected.
Ankle sprains are often inaccurately thought of as minor injuries that improve with minimal treatment (Doherty et al., 2016) but a high proportion of people who sprain their ankle go on to have long term issues with pain or instability, leading to increased health care costs as well reduced physical activity and quality of life (Rivera, Winkelmann, Powden, & Games, 2017). Early assessment and treatment after an ankle sprain are essential to ensure impairments in movement, strength and balance in the ankle are identified and rectified (Delahunt et al., 2018).
Given the risk of ongoing issues after ankle sprain, experts also stress the need for preventative strategies for those engaged in activities that involve running, jumping, changing direction and pivoting (Rivera et al., 2017).
Your Physiotherapist will assess the severity of your ankle sprain and provide you with information about the length of time it will take to recover. They are also trained to screen for more serious issues that can occur during an ankle sprain such as fractures and will recommend scans or further investigation if necessary.
Treatment for ankle sprain from your Physiotherapist will likely involve:
- Advice about early management including swelling management
- Bracing/taping as necessary to protect the joint from further injury
- Advice about return to activity and sport
- Hands on treatment
- Exercises to restore movement, balance and strength in the ankle
- Sports or activity specific exercises for your ankle
- Preventative strategies to reduce the chance of recurrence
Your Physiotherapist will also liaise with any health professionals currently giving you treatment and, where appropriate, refer you to other professionals as required.
Do you think you may have sprained your ankle? Book an appointment with one of our Physiotherapists! Call us on 9908 1949 or book below.
Delahunt, E., Bleakley, C. M., Bossard, D. S., Caulfield, B. M., Docherty, C. L., Doherty, C., . . . Gribble, P. A. (2018). Clinical assessment of acute lateral ankle sprain injuries (ROAST): 2019 consensus statement and recommendations of the International Ankle Consortium. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 52(20), 1304-1310.
Doherty, C., Bleakley, C., Hertel, J., Caulfield, B., Ryan, J., & Delahunt, E. (2016). Recovery From a First-Time Lateral Ankle Sprain and the Predictors of Chronic Ankle Instability: A Prospective Cohort Analysis. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 44(4), 995-1003.
Rivera, M. J., Winkelmann, Z. K., Powden, C. J., & Games, K. E. (2017). Proprioceptive Training for the Prevention of Ankle Sprains: An Evidence-Based Review. Journal of athletic training, 52(11), 1065-1067.