A sprained ankle is the most common type of sprain we see at PHYSIO4ALL. The ankle is a joint which is formed by the tibia and fibula (bones above the ankle in the foreleg) and the talus (below the ankle joint). Stability of the joint comes from the unique structural arrangement of the bones forming the joint and the surrounding ligaments.
Sprains are caused when the ligaments become stretched more than their normal length, resulting in a partial or complete tear. Ankle sprains range in severity from Grade 1 to grade 3. Grade 1 occurs when microscopic tearing of collagen fibres occurs, a Grade 2 is where there are complete tears of some but not all of the collagen fibres in the ligament, and the most severe is grade 3 where there is a complete tear/ rupture of the ligament.
Ankle sprains often occur in activities requiring rapid changes in direction, especially if these take place on uneven surfaces (e.g.: grass fields). The ligaments on the outside of the ankle are most often damaged.
If you have sprained your ankle early management should always include ‘RICE’ (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). You should continue this for the first 48-72 hours. Gradually increasing weight-bearing will help reduce the swelling and increase your ankle motion. During this initial stage, gentle movements should be initiated to maintain range of motion of your ankle. It is important to strengthen your ankle as soon as pain allows and retraining your balance has been shown to significantly reduce the rate of re-injury. Return to sport is permitted as long as the exercise you are performing can be done without pain and difficulty. It might be necessary to protect your ankle with a stabilising brace or asking your physiotherapist to tape the ankle.
For a great video on the Basic Balance Exercise for Ankle Sprains, click the following link: http://www.physio4all.com.au/blog/physio4all-video-blog/basic-balance-exercise/
For another fantastic video on the Intermediate Balance Exercise for Ankle Sprains, click the following link: http://www.physio4all.com.au/blog/physio4all-video-blog/intermediate-balance-exercise/
For the Advanced Balance Exercise for Ankle Sprains, click the following link: http://www.physio4all.com.au/blog/physio4all-video-blog/advanced-balance-exercise/