An ankle sprain refers to tearing of the ligaments of the ankle. The most common ankle sprain occurs on the lateral or outside part of the ankle (ATFL). This is an extremely common injury which affects many people during a wide variety of activities and sports.
CAUSES OF ANKLE SPRAIN
Any movement that suddenly twists the foot beyond the natural range of motion can cause an ankle sprain such as:
- Landing wrong when jumping or running on to an uneven surface.
- Stepping off a curb wrong
- Slipping on ice
- Tripping on a hole in the ground
THE SEVERITY OF THE ANKLE SPRAIN
Grade 1 – a first degree ankle sprain is when the ligaments have been stretched but not torn. Symptoms include:
- Mild pain
- Some swelling
- Some joint instability
- Mild joint stiffness
- Difficulty jogging or jumping
Grade 2 – a second degree ankle sprain is the most common of ankle injuries and is a partial tearing of the ligament. Symptoms include:
- Significant swelling
- Moderate pain
- Some loss of motion or use of the ankle
- Trouble walking
Grade 3 -– a third degree ankle sprain is the most severe of ankle injuries. With this sprain, the ligament has been torn completely. Symptoms include:
- Severe swelling
- Severe pain
- Instability of the joint
- Extreme loss of motion
- Walking can be quite painful
TREATMENT FOR ANKLE SPRAINS
The initial treatment option is to provide the principal of Ricers to the ankle.
Rest – especially in the first 24 to 48 hours
Ice – for the first 48 hours for 20 minutes at a time
Compression – wear a brace or a wrap that is snug, but not cutting off circulation
Elevate – above the heart as often as possible
Rehabilitation and return to play
Most ankle sprains heal within 2 to 6 weeks, however severe sprains many take as long as 12 weeks.
A comprehensive rehabilitation program minimizes the chance of the injury recurring and includes flexibility, balance, stretching, strengthening and sport specific exercises. During this time taping or bracing the ankle may be prescribed to provide support until full function is regained. If, while performing a rehabilitation exercise, ankle joint pain or discomfort is experienced, stop immediately and consult you’re physiotherapist.
Players with significant ligament injuries (Grade 2 or 3) are advised to use bracing or protective taping when playing sport for a minimum of 6 to 12 months post injury.
If you have any questions regarding ankle sprains or the require treatment for one, feel free to call us on 02 9971 2185!