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Acute Ankle Sprains

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Ankle sprains are a very common injury in most weight-bearing sports & in other recreational activities. They also have a high rate of recurrence.

Lateral ligament injuries are the most common injuries occurring in the ankle, largely due to the relative instability of the lateral joint & weakness of the lateral ligaments compared with the medial ligament.

The usual mechanism of injury to the lateral ligaments is inversion & plantar flexion, or ‘rolling over the ankle’, & often occurs in sports/activities requiring a rapid change of direction & those played on uneven surfaces. This type of injury can also occur when a player jumps & lands on another competitor’s feet.

Some people will present to their GP after injuring their ankle, with pain & swelling, a reduced range of movement, muscle weakness & joint stiffness. Treatment may include ice, rest, anti-inflammatory medications & referral to a physiotherapist. However, you do not require a GP referral for private Physiotherapy treatment.

Even though some ankle sprains appear to resolve with time, Physiotherapy treatment has been found to speed up recovery, providing a quick return to work and play, & can also help in preventing a recurrence. Ankle sprains presenting to Paddington Physiotherapy average less than 5 treatments for each episode.

The main aims of Physiotherapy treatment :

  • Minimize pain & swelling (through compression, bracing, taping, electrotherapy, gentle massage and mobilization)
  • Restore range of motion, in particular dorsiflexion (through encouraging a normal gait pattern, improving flexibility of the calf complex & mobilization of the talo-crural and subtalar joints)
  • Improve muscle strength & activation (particularly of the calf & peroneal muscle groups which function to ‘rescue’ the ankle from an inversion ankle sprain)
  • Improve proprioception – which can help prevent re-injury (through various high-level balance activities)
  • Return the patient to normal function, work or sport (through the prescription of more functional & sports/specific exercises once pain-free)

Early referral to a physiotherapist is the key to an optimal outcome in this condition, & so it is vital that patients are seen as soon as possible after an injury. Rehabilitation can commence immediately, so there is no need to wait for the swelling to subside.

Ankle injuries that have not been rehabilitated or poorly rehabilitated are at risk of recurring injury & other secondary complications from residual weakness, stiffness & poor proprioception.

Early management with accurate diagnosis is the most effective way of reducing the risk of persistent ankle symptoms & the risk of recurrent ankle sprains. Get moving on an early consultation 07 35116352 or online