Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries that occur to the lower limb. These injuries may occur during everyday activities but most commonly during sporting activities that involve jumping and also walking/running on uneven terrain.
When an ankle becomes sprained it refers to damage that has occurred to the ligaments. These are the supportive structures around our joints. During an ankle sprain the ligaments can become overstretched and also in more severe injuries may tear.
The most commonly injured ligament is that on the outside (lateral) part of the ankle. This will occur when the ankle is forced inwards (inversion injury) or when an unusual amount of force is placed on the ankle joint. In some cases people may also injure the ankle on the inside (medial) part of the ankle – this is not as common due to the large fan shape of the ligament.
Patients who sustain these inversion injuries commonly complain of pain on the outside of the ankle joint. These injuries will also cause tenderness, swelling and bruising to the outer part of the ankle. Depending on the severity of the injury patients will have difficulty in weight bearing on the ankle and also in moving the ankle from side to side.
It is recommended that within the first 24-72 hours that you apply the RICE method to help reduce any inflammation and to prevent further damage to ankle.
For patients who have sustained these injuries, Physiotherapy is an integral part of your ankle rehab. Depending on the severity of the injury recovery will vary, Mild ankle sprains can recover within a couple of days and those that are more severe may take several weeks. A strengthening and balance programme will also be provided in order to give the ankle stability and prevent any further damage and re-injury.
Your Physiotherapist will provide you with an assessment in which they will determine the extent of your injury.