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Ankle sprains are a common type of injury in the lower limb. There are many ligaments that hold the different bones in the ankle joint together. An ankle sprain can comprise of damage to one or more of these ligaments. The most common ankle injury/sprain occurs when the foot rolls inwards , so that the sole of the foot faces upwards. This ankle injury is common in running sports, like rugby, soccer, athletics, triathlons, court sports such as netball, basketball, tennis and all dance and gymnastic type sports. This type of ankle sprain results in lateral ligament damage. Other ankle sprains occur when the foot is forced to roll out resulting in a medial ligament sprain. These are a little less common than the lateral ligament sprains.
Ankle injuries may also result in a strain as well as a sprain where the muscle or tendon is also affected. It is important to get any ankle injury seen to as soon as possible by a professional who specializes in these injuries. Evidence shows that sprained ankle recovery time is decreased and patients will recover better and quicker if seen by a physiotherapist within the first day or two of injury. Prior to the physiotherapy appointment it is necessary to ice the ankle every two hours for 20 mins, rest and elevate the ankle and put some form of compression on the joint like a bandage.
Sprained ankle treatment follows this process :
Taping or the use of an Air splint will give compression to the area which controls swelling and edema. Elevation during periods of rest is recommended so that swelling is controlled and healing is promoted,further reducing the recovery time.
As the pain reduces ,exercises can begin ,and weight bearing will be increased. Proprioceptive exercises that improve the sensations in the joint and improve balance and stability are essential.
Remember that physiotherapists are the practitioner of choice for ankle sprains and the sooner you make an appointment after the incident the better your results will be.
Generally speaking the recovery time for a sprained ankle will be 2 to 3 weeks for a grade 1 strain ,4 to 6 weeks for a grade 2 strain and for a grade 3 strain the probability of surgery is high, with a grossly unstable joint. The recovery for this is in the order of 3 to 6 months.
To make an appointment with one of our Physiotherapy movement specialists call 32781186