What is AN ANKLE SPRAIN?
One of the most common injuries is a lateral sprain to the ankle. An ankle sprain occurs when the ankle rolls towards the outside of the foot from a force being applied to the ankle joint, causing excessive movement at the joint.
There are three ligaments often injured or torn in a lateral ankle sprain. Individuals immediately become aware of the sprain as they may hear an audible ‘snap’ or ‘pop’, due to the tearing or stretching of those ligaments.
Sports involving jumping, turning and twisting are particularly vulnerable to ankle sprains. Pain will be felt on the outside of the ankle and may begin to swell and form a bruise along the outside of the ankle and foot.
Risk factors for ankle sprains include:
- Previous injury
- Poor footwear
- Poor strength and stability of the ankle Sudden change in direction
- Increased age
The immediate treatment of any soft tissue injury consists of the RICER protcol - rest, ice, compression, elevation and referral.
RICE protocol should be followed for 48 - 72 hours. The aim is to reduce the bleeding and damage within the joint.
The No HARM protocol should also be applied - no heat, no alcohol, no running or activity, and no massage. This will ensure decreased bleeding and swelling in the injured area.
Medication such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory dugs (NSAID) may be used to control pain and inflammation. Consult your Podiatrist or Pharmacist prior to using medication.
Treatment and Rehabilitation of Ankle Sprains by your Podiatrist
Highett Podiatry can examine the injured ankle to determine which ligaments are torn and to what extent they are damaged. Sprained ankles are divided into grades 1 – 3, depending on their severity. If required, your podiatrist can refer you for X-rays, ultrasounds and other radiology scans. X-rays and ultrasounds referred by podiatrists are eligible to be billed through Medicare.
Our podiatrists can immobilise your injury with strapping, bracing or by placing you in a CAM walker. We also may prescribe crutches to aid in the healing process. Soft tissue therapy in the form of ultrasound, deep tissue massage and dry needling is also available.
Research shows that early mobilisation and the use of specific modalities on ankle sprains result in better outcomes. Most ankle injuries heal within 2-6 weeks, although a sever sprain can take up to 12 weeks. Appropriate rehabilitation is crucial in preventing the injury reoccurring and reducing long-term ankle instability. Our customised rehabilitation programs may include exercises for strengthening and stabilising the ankle joint, bracing or strapping to provide support through the process.