What is it?
Ankle sprains are a common musculoskeletal injury that can occur for both athletic and non-athletic populations. The injury typically involves a sudden twist or ‘rolling’ of the ankle which can cause damage to the ligaments of the ankle, but may also affect other bony or soft tissue structures.
How does it present?
When suffering an ankle sprain, you may notice one or more of the following:
- Bruising and swelling
- Tenderness when touching the area
- Feeling of instability
- Pain when weight-bearing on the affect foot
- Pain and/or limitations when moving your ankle
Getting back on your feet after an ankle injury is crucial. Therefore, it is essential to contact your physiotherapist or health care provider for a proper assessment and guidance on how to best manage your injury.
How can Physiotherapy help?
Here at PhysioCare, Our team play a major role in the rehabilitation of ankle sprain helping to initially manage pain and swelling, then helping restore normal function through hands-on manual therapy, education, and a tailored exercise program.
If appropriate, we can also prescribe moon boots, crutches, taping, and exercise equipment, to aid in the recovery of your ankle sprain.
What will your management look like?
- Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation
The first 48-72 hours of the injury should be focused on reducing pain and swelling of the affected foot.
This can be achieved by using the RICE protocol.
- Resting and protecting the injury foot by using crutches, moonboot or a supportive brace
- Icing the area for 20 minutes, 4-8 times a day to reduce pain and swelling
- Compression using a bandage to reduce swelling
- Elevating the ankle above the level of the heart to reduce swelling
- Range of Motion Exercises and Strengthening
Following the initial stages of the ankle sprain, your physiotherapist will begin encouraging increased weight-bearing and range of motion exercises to improve flexibility and reduce stiffness of the ankle joint.
You will then begin strengthening the muscle groups supporting the ankle joint to help restore function and prevent re-injury.
- Balance Exercises
If appropriate, your physiotherapist may choose to prescribe balance exercises that aim to improve your body’s awareness to different surfaces or environments, further strengthen your ankle, and reduce risk of re-injury
- Return to Sport/Work Exercises
If you’re an athlete or an individual aiming to return to sport, your physiotherapist will then provide you with specific exercises to improve your capacity to return to the sport and reduce the risk of re-injury.