What is an Ankle Sprain?
Ankle injuries are common. There aren’t many athletes who haven’t suffered one in their career. Some are rehabilitated fully, some can recur and without advice and careful management some can become chronic.
If you twist your ankle in then it is termed an inversion sprain. This is the most common sprain. The ligaments that are usually affected are the anterior talk- fibular ligament, calcaneo-fibular ligament and the posterior tala-fibular ligament. If you twist it out then you term it an eversion sprain. The ligament that is usually affected is the deltoid ligament.
Injuries to the ankle usually occur when you you land awkwardly after a jump, on uneven ground or turn suddenly.
How to grade an ankle sprain
A Grade I is mild and the ligaments are stretched with micro damage. There is no tearing and usually minimal to no bruising.
A Grade II injury is partial tearing and can involve more than one ligament. There is usually swelling and discolouration / bruising.
A Grade III is high grade or full tearing of the ligament or ligaments and can also include a fracture. If there are full ankle ligament tearing then immobilisation in a moon boot for 6 weeks is a consideration for management. Surgical opinion can also be considered.
Your PhysioPro will guide you from the acute phase of 48-72 hours where there will be predominatley rest, ice, compression and elevation of the ankle. After this period you are then in the subacute phase where you will receive ankle mobilisations, ultrasound, heat, electrotherapy and a strengthening program with therabands, wobble boards and bosu balls and finally a sports specific program to return to your chosen field of activity.
When can I play sport again?
As a guide grade one injuries can be 2-3 weeks, grade two can be 3-6 weeks and grade three can be 3 months plus depending on the injury. Complications from ankle injuries can be ankle synovitis where there is residual swelling around the capsule of the ankle despite the recovery of the injured bone, tendon or ligaments. This can require a cortisone injection to settle the chronicity of the inflammatory cycle however early physiotherapy intervention and care are the best ways to prevent this from occurring.
Important considerations after an ankle injury is taping, bracing and supportive shoes. Please consult your local PhysioPro for their expert advice on management and prevention of ankle injuries today.