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Ankle Sprains - a common injury that still needs some attention.

Here at Barossa Physiotherapy we deal with a wide range of injuries, ankle injuries are very

common particularly in those who play sport. The most common ankle injury is a sprained

ankle or people refer to this as a ‘rolled ankle’. So what are the causes of a sprained ankle

and when do you need to see a physiotherapist for an ankle injury?

What Are the Main Causes for a Sprained Ankle?

There are many ways to sprain an ankle however the most common way is an inversion

sprain where the ankle rolls inwards towards the other ankle. This can be caused by

stepping on uneven surfaces, uneven landing when jumping or a heavy blow to the outside

of the ankle. There are many ligaments within the ankle complex, the ligaments on the

outside of the ankle involved in an ankle sprain are the Talofibular Ligament (ATFL),

Calcaneofibular Ligament (CFL) or the Posterior Talofibular Ligament (PTFL). It is possible to

roll your ankle the other way as well in which the inside ligaments will have been damaged.

There are four ligaments which provide stability to the inside of the ankle and together

these are known as the Deltoid ligament. An injury to the Deltoid ligament is far less

common than an injury to the ATFL, CFL or PTFL.

After an ankle sprain has occurred you will generally have pain in the joint as well as

swelling around the ankle which can last hours. It is common for the entire foot and ankle to

swell with bruising becoming evident as well.

Why do I Keep Spraining My Ankle?

If you have had a previous ankle sprain then you are more at risk of re-spraining your ankle.

When you roll your ankle you damage the proprioceptive fibres which have a direct

correlation to the brain. If the correct rehab and stimulus is not given early then the body

will not recover back to its original state thus, becoming more at risk of further damage.

Other risks factors can be playing on different surfaces (e.g. slippery or uneven), increase in

weight or height where the ligaments need to try correct for an increase in load, posture

including biomechanics of the hip and knee, intensity of the activity and fatigue where the

muscles or active stabilisers of the joint are unable to effectively contract.

When Should I See A Physiotherapist?

An ankle sprain can take days, weeks or months to recover from. It would be optimal to see

your physiotherapists within 3 days of the ankle sprain occurring to ensure recovery will be

effective. The role of the physiotherapist is to assess the ankle early on and provide correct

rehabilitation exercises to give you the best chance of a quick recovery. Treatments can

include exercise programs to improve strength and mobility of the joint, advice on tapes and

braces as well as exercises to improve proprioception in the joint. The current best evidence

recommends that by starting this sort of program within the first week of an ankle sprain

there will be improved ankle function and thus a better chance in return to sport/work.

Your physiotherapist will also be able to assess and refer for scans if required. Scans can

involve MRI’s, CT’s and X-RAY’s.

What Exercises Should I be Doing After An Ankle Sprain?

Within the first few days of an acute ankle sprain it is crucial to keep moving the ankle

complex as much as possible. Exercises which will be helpful are shown below.

If you are unable to complete the following exercises or struggling to move around well, please come see us ASAP.

Ankle Spains Exercises Zydan
Download PDF • 141KB

Zydan Merkx (4 th Year Physiotherapy Student)


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