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Sprained Ankle Treatment

The ever common ankle sprain

Have you ever rolled or sprained your ankle? At some stage in our life most of us have. An ankle sprain occurs when the ankle is rolls excessively to one side. It is far more common for the ankle to roll outward (inversion injury) than inward (eversion injury) due to the strength of the ligaments that support each side of the ankle.

The word sprain implies an injury to a ligament. Typically, an ankle sprain occurs frequently during activities that require a quick change in position, such as netball, basketball, and most of the football codes. The most common mechanism of injury is landing on the outside of the foot with the toes pointed down (plantarflexed). The patient’s weight causes tension through the ligaments on the outside of the foot.

Commonly injured in an ankle sprain are the following ligaments: the ATFL, the PTFL and the CFL. The anterior talo-fibular ligament, or ATFL, is by far the most common ligament to sustain damage, and, in severe cases, rupture. The calcaneofibular ligament (CFL), and the posterior talo-fibular ligament (PTFL) are also capable of suffering damage in more serious cases.

Ankle sprains are one of the most common sporting injuries

What can you do?

An ankle sprain is suspected if a patient can put weight on the foot following the injury. Usually there will be pain and swelling at the front/ outside aspect of the ankle (anterolateral). Conservative management is always the first approach. Always remember RICE; Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

If the patient is unable to walk on the ankle after injury it may be indicative of bony damage.

Rehabilitation from a serious ankle injury is very important because the ankle loses strength and the ability to protect itself. A strengthening and rehabilitation program will be required.  To prevent future injury orthotics and appropriate footwear may be required to provide the ankle with additional stability.