Ankle sprains occur commonly when you go over on your ankle.
The outer aspect of your ankle is overstretched and the sole of your foot twists inwards. The ligaments at the outside of the ankle are most frequently sprained.Injuries can be a grade 1 sprain where only a small number of ligament fibres are injured, a grade 2 where a greater proportion of fibres are sprained or a grade 3 which is a complete rupture. Grade 1 and 2 injuries are normally managed conservatively with physiotherapy. A grade 3 sprain may require surgery.
Management of ankle sprains over the first 72 hours should be PRICE- protection-rest-ice-compression-elevation. Slowly return to walking as pain allows. Crutches may be needed for more severe sprains. Early aims of physiotherapy are to reduce swelling and restore normal movement in the ankle joint. The patient may be given exercises to assist this. The physio may also use hands on techniques such as ankle mobilisations and soft tissue techniques to restore range. Ultrasound and other electrotherapy modalities may also be used.
Strengthening exercises using therabands or body weight are performed once the pain has settled and the patient is walking more normally. The ankle ligaments contain receptors that give the brain information about the position of the ankle in space. These can be damaged with injury. Therefore it is important to restore the ankle’s balance reactions. Wobble boards or standing on one leg with your eyes closed can help this.
Finally for a return to sport, activities such as hopping and a graded running programme may be necessary.
All ankle injuries progress at different rates. Here at Southside physiotherapy clinic we can advise you on the appropriate exercises at the right time.