What is an ankle sprain?
An ankle sprain happens when the foot rolls out excessively, causing the supporting ligaments on the outside of the ankle to stretch and tear. This usually happens when walking on uneven ground or participating in sports.
How do I know if I’ve got one?
There will usually be a recent history of injury as above. Following a fall where the ankle rolls out excessively there will be pain, swelling and bruising around the ankle joint. It will be difficult if not impossible to bear weight on the injured ankle.
Ouch, that sounds really nasty! What can I do?
It is a nasty injury, and early management is key to recovery. You should support, rest and Ice the area for the first 24 hours, avoiding weight bearing. It is important to get the injury checked as early as possible to make sure there is not a fracture, which can happen in some cases of severe ankle sprain. Early mobilisation is important for good recovery so, while non weight bearing, move the foot and ankle through a pain free range to avoid the joint stiffening up.
If I rest it, it will get better right?
Yes it will, however the problem with ankle sprains is that, if not properly rehabilitated, the ankle may heal in a weakened state resulting in reduced proprioception or position sense, increasing the risk of a future ankle sprain.
How can a Podiatrist help?
A Podiatrist will guide you through the different stages of rehabilitation, advising on specific exercises to strengthen the ankle and improve proprioception, while making sure the ankle is supported and ofloaded appropriately to prevent further injury and speed up the healing process.
How can I reduce the risk of getting an ankle sprain?
Accidents will happen. However you can reduce the risk of getting an ankle sprain by wearing appropriate supportive shoes with good grip on uneven terrain, performing agility drills if involved in competitive multi directional sports such as football or tennis, and regular strengthening and balance exercises if your ankle is weak from a previous injury.
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