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Ankle sprains – a quick management guide

6th Jun, 2022

Anatomy of the ankle 

Our ankles are held together by a highly congruent set of bones (think about pieces of a puzzle that fit exactly together), as well as a network of ligaments. 

Ligaments are a rope-like structure that connect bones together. In an ankle sprain when your ankle turns, these taut, rope-like structures can be stretched beyond their normal range, and in some cases torn, resulting in a painful and swollen ankle.

If these ligaments do not fully heal before another sprain presents itself, they will be more susceptible to injury, or even in some cases, tear. This perpetuates this cycle of instability.

A simple ankle sprain?

Ankle sprains are not simple. Research has shown that appropriate treatment and rehabilitation of the ankle reduces recurrence of re-injury by more than 50%. 

What should I do when I sprain my ankle?

In the acute phase of your injury, promptly treat it with PEACE and LOVE. No, we do not mean for you to just hug your ankle.

P – Protect. Avoid the activities and movements to the ankle that cause it to be painful during the first few days of your injury.

E – Elevate. Elevate the injured limb above the level of the heart as much as possible.

A – Avoid Anti-inflammatories or Icing. This could be detrimental to healing.

C – Compression. Use an elastic tape or bandage to reduce swelling.

E – Education. Try to avoid unnecessary passive treatment at this stage. 

&

L – Load. Load your ankle as soon as your symptoms allow it.

O – Optimism. A little goes a long way! Confidence and Positivity enhances optimal recovery.

V – Vascularisation. Pain free cardio-vascular exercises will help with blood flow, improve function, and reduce need for pain medication

E – Exercise. This will help your mobility, strength and proprioception after your injury.

Treatment options for ankle sprains

Active and passive techniques can be taught and performed to increase mobility in the ankle.

Strength training exercises for ankle sprains can be taught and prescribed to you to help with improving global strength of the ankle and giving you more confidence over your ankle.

Stability and proprioception exercises can help with educating your body’s positioning sense of your ankle, so that you know when your ankle is, or is not stable.

A customised orthotic prescribed specifically for your foot and foot mechanics can help to stabilise the ankle, and improve proprioceptive feedback. 

A stable and higher cut shoe can also help with providing some stability to the ankle. With ankle instability, the use of high heeled shoes should be kept to a minimum, at best – avoided, because the use of high heels places the foot in an unstable position. 

If you feel that you have unstable ankles, or they give way, or if you frequently sprain your ankles, why don’t you book our Rehab Centre now and allow our Physiotherapist and Podiatrist address your concerns and assist you back into recovery?

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