Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are a common injury. In fact, a sprained or twisted ankle is one of the most frequent injuries presented to emergency departments around the world. However, this doesn’t make them any less difficult when they do occur. If you’ve spent any time on crutches, you can understand how challenging it can be.

What are they?

Ankle sprains refer to a tear of ligament fibres in the ankle. Most often, a person will roll their ankle inwards and tear the calcaneofibular and/or anterior talofibular ligaments on the outside. Sometimes, the ankle will twist outwards and the deltoid ligaments on the inside of the ankle are torn, and even less commonly, the fibres of the ligament that hold the two bones of the lower leg together can tear (high ankle sprain). A sprained ankle will usually present as being painful, swollen, bruised, difficult to walk on and in some cases unstable.

How does it happen?

Ankle sprains can occur from the simplest of movements such as putting weight onto your leg when you think your foot is flat even though it’s not. The most typical patterns of injury are a person jumping and landing on the outside of their foot or simply slipping and twisting the ankle.

It’s important that ankle injuries are taken seriously, as a severely sprained ankle can actually have very similar symptoms to a broken ankle and sometimes an x-ray is required.

A medical professional should assess any severe sprain. However, often the following guidelines are utilized to help decide if a sprained ankle needs X-ray:

  1. You are unable to put weight on the ankle immediately after the injury
  2. You are unable to take more than 4 steps immediately after the injury
  3. Pain on the bony edges of the outer foot and ankle

How long do sprains take to heal?

Although it depends of the severity, roughly from one to six weeks. To aid with recovery and ensure healing remains on track, your physiotherapist is the best person to visit. Following any injury of the body, joints may remain a little stiff and diminish in strength and control. Even omce the injured tissues have healed, the ankle won’t move in the way it used to. This puts your risk of twisting it again at a higher rate than before the injury.

How can physiotherapy help?

As well as immediate recovery aid, orrect rehabilitation can help to prevent recurring injuries. A physiotherapist will also likely find ways to provide support to the unstable joint, help strengthen any weak muscles and restore balance and control through exercise. They are also able to correct any abnormal movement of the joint following swelling.

None of the information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always see a medical professional for advice on your condition

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