LATERAL ANKLE SPRAINS

An ankle sprain is one of the most common injuries that people suffer from. It can occur when you twist your ankle in an awkward way, or when you land on it wrong after a jump. If you are unlucky enough to suffer from a lateral ankle sprain, then you will know just how painful, unstable and debilitating it can be. This article will explore the causes and symptoms of lateral ankle sprains, as well as the treatment options available. So, if you are feeling a little tenderness around your ankle, make sure to read on for more information.

Ankle pain can greatly affect normal function

ANKLE SPRAINS
Ankle sprains are common injuries that occur when one or more of the ligaments in the ankle are injured. Ankle sprains can cause either partial or complete tearing of the ligaments of the ankle. Inversion sprains or lateral ankle sprains are the most common kind of injury of the ankle. This kind of sprain happens when the sole of the foot faces inwards and the outside ligaments are overstretched.
The ankle is very susceptible to injury. The anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) is the most commonly injured structure.

Several ligaments can be injured with a lateral ankle sprain

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT GRADES?
When it comes to ankle injuries, there is a wide range of severity. From simple sprains to fractures, the type and severity of injury will depend on a number of factors.The different grades of ankle sprains are as follows:
  • Grade 1: Mild sprain - Swelling and tenderness are mild. Little functional impact
  • Grade 2: Moderate sprain - Swelling and tenderness are more noticeable around the ankle. More functional impact seen through reduced range of motion and increased instability of the ankle
  • Grade 3: Severe sprain - A complete rupture (the ligament is torn completely) with a marked amount of swelling, tenderness and significant loss of function and stability

HOW LONG DOES RECOVERY TAKE?
The time frame for healing for each grade differs, with grade 1 sprains healing the quickest, and grade 3 sprains taking significantly longer. Factors such as obesity, smoking and diabetes can affect the rate of healing of ankle sprains.
Mild ankle sprains will usually heal to full recovery in two weeks. Taping and rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE) are necessary.

HOW CAN I MANAGE MY SYMPTOMS AT HOME?
There are simple steps that can be done to prevent further aggravation of an ankle sprain.
  • Protect the ankle from further injury or aggravation by reducing activities that increase pain.
  • Resting from activities in the short-term is ideal. The first 24 hours after injury is an ideal time for the ankle to rest.
  • Icing is a common strategy for reducing swelling during the acute stage, and is no different for an ankle sprain.

HOW CAN PHYSIOPHI HELP?
In some cases, physiotherapy may be recommended in order to speed up the healing process and restore full function to the ankle.
  • Lymphatic drainage and swelling management during the early stages can help to reduce pain and restore function to an otherwise stiff ankle joint.
  • Advice and education on the severity of the sprain and subsequent management are important. This establishes the recovery pathway and provides information on potential time frames for return to work or return to sport.
  • Exercises aim to target range restoration, strength gain and balance retraining. These relate directly to goals and functional demands and focus is also placed on future prevention and long-term management.
  • Joint mobilisation aims to increase the range of movement in the ankle to allow for more freedom of movement and decrease in tension.

Exercises to strengthen the ankle prevent future reinjury

Ankle sprains are not a difficult injury to manage but having a team behind you that can offer support and speed up recovery is invaluable. Do not let your ankle sprain get the better of you. Early management prevents any ankle injury from becoming chronic. If you need help with your ankle injury - whether acute or chronic - book an appointment and get results with us.
PLEASE CONTACT US ON: (07) 3172 4332 TO HAVE A CHAT WITH OUR FRIENDLY STAFF OR SIMPLY BOOK ONLINE ON: WWW.PHYSIOPHI.COM.AU

REFERENCES
  1. de Vasconcelos, G. S., Cini, A., Sbruzzi, G., & Lima, C. S. (2018). Effects of proprioceptive training on the incidence of ankle sprain in athletes: systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Rehabil, 32(12), 1581-1590. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269215518788683
  2. Kobayashi, T., Tanaka, M., &Shida, M. (2016). Intrinsic Risk Factors of Lateral Ankle Sprain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Sports Health, 8(2), 190-193. https://doi.org/10.1177/1941738115623775
  3. Ortega-Avila, A. B., Cervera-Garvi, P., Marchena-Rodriguez, A., Chicharro-Luna, E., Nester, C. J., Starbuck, C., & Gijon-Nogueron, G. (2020). Conservative Treatment for Acute Ankle Sprain: A Systematic Review. J Clin Med, 9(10). https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9103128
  4. Wikstrom, E. A., Cain, M. S., Chandran, A., Song, K., Regan, T., Migel, K., & Kerr, Z. Y. (2020). Lateral ankle sprain increases subsequent ankle sprain risk: a systematic review. J Athl Train. https://doi.org/10.4085/168-20

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