Fix your sprained ankle and know how to prevent them!



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We all know what it feels like to all roll our ankle, not pleasant! Whether it’s been playing sport or after a few too many sherbets on a Friday night 🙂

Did you know that in fact, it is one of the most common injuries we treat at Elite Performance Therapy every year? Therefore we wanted to share with you they key causes of a “Sprained ankle” and what can you do to prevent it from happening…

What is an ankle sprain?

An ankle sprain occurs when you twist, roll, or turn your ankle awkwardly. This quick sharp movement causes damage to the ankle ligaments, which help to keep your ankle stable. The role of ankle ligaments are to prevent excessive movement at your ankle joint; imagine they are tough bands of rope, stretching and pulling to keep your ankle in the correct position. When you roll your ankle, the main ligaments that you injure are on the outside of the foot.

When you sprain your ankle there will be a few key signs and symptoms:

  • Localised pain around the ankle area when weight bearing
  • Tenderness when you touch around the ankle, especially the outside
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • The skin may feel hot to the touch
  • Your ankle may feel unstable, especially when walking

Do remember that not all ankle sprains are the same and any injury symptoms can differ from person to person. Furthermore, the severity of the sprain will depend on how sharp the twist was. Some sprains will result in minor swelling and bruising, whereas others will really look like you’ve been hit by a truck!

3 Types of ankle sprain

Grade 1 – A split stretching of the ankle ligaments with minor tearing. Swelling & Bruising will be minor and walking without pain should be possible.

Grade 2 – Moderate tearing of the ankle ligaments with more severe swelling & bruising. Walking will be more painful, and your ankle will feel weak or unstable.

Grade 3 – This is a complete tear of the ligament. Often people describe hearing a loud pop or crack when this injury occurs. You will experience high levels of pain, bruising and swelling. If you have a Grade 3 tear normally the approach to treatment involves having surgery, however research does show that if immobilized and rehabilitated correctly, the injury will heal on its own.

If you have sprained your ankle and are experiencing similar symptoms, then the below treatment information may be useful.

Early Phase:

  • As soon as the injury occurs you should follow the R.I.C.E protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). This will help reduce the initial symptoms and begin the healing process.
  • For Grade 2 or 3 Sprains, walking boots or braces may be used to immobilize the joint.
  • Weightbearing activities are recommended to slight sprains if pain allows it.

Mid Phase:

  • With Grade 1 sprains this phase can normally begin sooner.
  • This phase is focussed on beginning functional rehab.
  • Here at Elite Performance Therapy will then provide you with a complete range of motion exercises, isometric strengthening and proprioceptive training.
  • Normally if a brace or boot was being used in Phase 1, this will now be removed to help prevent joint stiffness.

End Phase:

  • Your exercises should gradually become more difficult as you enter the end of your rehabilitation program.
  • Initially exercises will avoid sharp twisting movements, but as the injury heals, It’s important to test and strengthen the ankle in these movements.

It is extremely important that you follow a structured rehabilitation plan with ankle sprains. This type of injury is extremely prone to reoccurrence. When you injure the ankle ligaments, you damage the ankles proprioception. This simply means that there are cells within your ankle ligaments, that ensure your ankle is in the correct position when moving. If you damage these cells, your ankle will not be in the correct place when you are walking, running, or exercising. This means that you then be prone to more ankle sprains & so the cycles continues!

Our Top Tips!

Along with completing a thorough rehab plan, here are a few of our best tips to help prevent future ankle sprains:

  • Warm up before you exercise or play sports
  • Take more care when walking on unstable surfaces
  • Wear appropriate shoes for everyday activities & sports. – no flip flops when walking mountains, or running in trainers with holes in!
  • Maintain good muscle strength and flexibility, especially in the lower leg. Calf raises are key!
  • Continue to complete simple rehab exercises, even when not injured.
  • Reduce the time spent wearing high heeled shoes. We promise it is worth it!

How we can help !

If you are suffering with an ankle sprain and not sure what to do, then please get in contact. Here at Elite Performance Therapy, we have great experience treating this type of injury, along with a variety of other acute and chronic problems.

You can call us, or book online – and if you think this blog can help someone – please share it 🙂

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