With winter season well underway, a common injury associated with football, soccer, netball and basketball are ankle sprains. Commonly occurring following an “inversion” injury where the foot rolls inwards with a sudden change of direction or uneven surface. This commonly results in stretching the ligaments on the outside of the foot including the anterior talo-fibular ligament (ATFL). Fortunately, if rehabilitated well, there can be good capacity to heal and surrounding ligaments can provide good stability. Conversely, if not rehabilitated thoroughly, sprains can routinely lead to increased time away from sport or complications associated with altered movements and biomechanics.
What should I do following an ankle sprain?
- Ice. Aim to ice for 10 – 15 minutes every several hours for the first 72 hours.
- Compress. Use compression garments or compression bandages.
- Rehabilitate. Regardless of any associated swelling or bruising, physiotherapy assessment and treatment should be commenced as soon as possible.
Why do I need to rehabilitate an ankle sprain?
Your physiotherapist is equipped to assess the severity of the sprain and are able to refer for medical imaging if required. Weight bearing quickly and as safely as possible is crucial and your physiotherapist will advise what is most appropriate following injury. During the acute period, physiotherapy will aim to restore normal movement and reduce swelling.
Once pain and swelling has settled, your physiotherapist will assist in regaining strength and proprioception. Regardless of severity, proprioception (the ability to sense and react to changes in position or balance) is affected. Without specific rehabilitation and exercise, poor proprioception can result in increased risk of recurrent ankle sprains, increased risk of knee injuries (including ACL rupture) and altered biomechanics.
Your physiotherapist will get you back to training and sport as quickly as possible. Bracing or strapping can be used in the early stages but should never be used as a replacement to proper rehabilitation.
Should you experience an ankle sprain, get in touch with our team as soon as possible for assessment and treatment. The sooner the sprain is assessed, the quicker the return to training and sport. Call us on 9571 6888 or book online today.