Ankle sprains make up almost 50% of sport-related injuries. An ankle sprain is the stretching or tearing of the ligaments in the ankle. Although often considered a minor and fairly common injury, if not treated properly ankle sprains can be serious, causing long-term ankle weakness and pain.
What causes ankle sprains?
Sprains can happen suddenly in sports or physical activity, often when making quick changes in direction or on uneven terrain. The most common type of ankle sprain occurs to the anterior talofibular ligament on the outer front portion of the ankle joint. The ankle rolls outward, and the foot rolls inward pulling on the ligaments that connect the bones in the ankle. Depending on the severity of the sprain, symptoms can range from mild tenderness and bruising to severe swelling and pain.
What should I do if I sprain my ankle?
After the initial injury, immediately follow the R.I.C.E. treatment method. R.I.C.E. stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Rest the ankle. Do not place weight on it right away or until you see a healthcare professional or physiotherapist. Ice the ankle right away and for up to 10-15 minutes at a time to reduce pain and swelling. Compression and elevation of the ankle will, also, aid in decreasing inflammation.
Seek the help of your local healthcare provider as soon as you can. Broken ankles are often mistaken for severe sprains and may need immediate medical attention.
How can physiotherapy help a sprained ankle?
Recurrence, unfortunately, is common with ankle sprains due to weakness and lack of mobility. Physiotherapy can help prevent reoccurrence of an ankle sprain.
At Aquafit Physiotherapy, our therapists can help restore range of motion, reduce inflammation and pain, increase strength, and improve overall function of the joint. Our therapists will perform a thorough initial assessment, testing strength and range of motion. From this, they will devise a treatment plan, involving manual therapy techniques, modalities, and exercise. For an ankle sprain, exercises will primarily involve increasing flexibility of the ankle joint with stretching exercises, and increasing strength around the joint via strengthening exercises and balance exercises.
Further, at Aquafit Physiotherapy, our innovative hydrotherapy pools offer a safe, comfortable, and weightless environment for patients to complete their exercises. The warm water of the pool helps to increase circulation, which can help ease inflammation and bruising. On average, minor ankle sprains can take up to 6 weeks to heal. More severe sprains may take up to 4 months. Call Aquafit Physiotherapy today to get on the right track toward recovery and get back to the sports you know and love!