Have you ever sprained your ankle?
An ankle sprain is very common sporting injury often occurring in sports that require rapid changes in direction, especially if this takes place on uneven surfaces (e.g. grass fields).
An ankle sprain occurs when the ankle rolls or twists inwards or outwards stretching and/or damaging the ligaments which protect the ankle. They are one of the most common injuries seen in basketball, volleyball, netball and most football codes. Injuries to the ankle where the ankle rolls inwards are known as an inversion sprains. If the ankle rolls outwards this is known as an eversion sprain. Inversion sprains are far more common as the outer side of the joint is less stable and the ligaments are weaker than the ligaments on the inner side of the ankle.
The most common ligament damaged in an ankle sprain is known as the ATFL ligament. When damage to this ligament occurs, you can expect the following symptoms to be present:
- Swelling in the ankle
- Pain in ankle
- Bruising in the ankle and foot
- Difficulty weight bearing
- Sometimes an audible snap, crack or tear may be heard at time of injury
- Decreased ankle movement
When visiting an osteopath at Radius, a thorough history regarding your ankle will be taken. After this the osteopath will perform some tests to determine the severity of injury to the ankle and rule out the presence of a fracture. Determining the degree of ligament damage helps determine how long it will take to rehabilitate the ankle.
In the 48 hours immediately following an injury the ankle should be managed using the RICE protocol to reduce swelling and pain in the joint. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Rest involves avoiding activity using the ankle. Ice is used to reduce pain and swelling. Apply the ice or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day. Compression can be achieved using an elastic bandage which can be found in a pharmacy (do not wrap too tight). Elevation of the ankle can be achieved by propping up your ankle so it is above the level of your heart and can be done whilst applying ice. This helps drainage of swelling in the ankle.
After 48 hours, your osteopath can begin gentle treatment including massage and mobilizing the joint in order to decrease pain and swelling as well as promote joint mobility. Your osteopath will assess the lower limb and pelvis to determine whether other biomechanical factors may have contributed to the ankle sprain and will outline a management plan to restore full and pain free motion of the ankle. Furthermore, they will provide taping advice, strengthening exercises and stabilizing exercises to prevent recurrence of the injury and get you back in the game as soon as possible.
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