Ankle Injuries and Ankle Sprains
One of the most common injuries presenting to physiotherapy clinics is ankle injuries. This frequently occurs from the ankle rolling in while playing sports that requires a sudden change of direction. It also occurs due to slips and trips on uneven ground and stairs.
The anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) and Calneocuboid ligament (CFL) can be sprained. Your physio will grade the severity of your sprain from 1, small number of fibres torn up to a grade 3 which involves a complete rupture of the ligaments. Your physio will also asses for damage to the ankle joint including cartilage, chondral, joint capsule, tendon and bone bruising injuries that may occur in conjunction with your ankle sprain.
Your Physiotherapist may refer you for X-Ray scans to detect the presence of a fracture based on the OTTWA charter rules.
Early treatment within the first 48 hours will help improve your recovery. The Sports Medicine industry promotes the management of Protect, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
This means your physiotherapist will provide protection for your injured ligament with sports tape, brace or walking boot known as a moon boot. Optimal loading simple means that your physiotherapist will encourage safe walking and early return to exercise. You should ice your ankle for 20 minutes every two hours, apply compression and elevate your ankle.
The main role of the ligaments in your ankle are to provide stability while moving and exercising. Therefore, when they are damaged your ankle can feel unstable and will be at increased risk of re injury. A Sports physiotherapist will provide exercise for the ankle and leg to increase your strength and balance around the ankle. This can compensate for the reduced support from your ligaments.
Rehabilitation programs for the ankle have be shown to reduce your pain, reduce the time to return to sport and reduce the risk of re-injuring your ankle. If a friend or family member is struggling with an ankle injury, make sure you send them to your nearest qualified Sports Physiotherapist.