Ankle injuries are a very common injury of the foot. They commonly occur during games of sport such as football and netball, or when walking or running on uneven surfaces. Some women can be predisposed to ankle injuries when constantly wearing high heels, this elevation of the heel of the foot makes the ankle more predisposed to injuring.
So how do ankle sprains occur?
The most common type of ankle sprain is an ‘inversion’ sprain, this is where we roll over on the foot and it faces inwards. The ankle joint is a very mobile joint allowing us to pivot and turn directions with ease. Unfortunately because of this it is a very common site for injury. When an ankle is twisted, the ligaments are overstretched. In the worst case, they might tear. Small blood vessels tear too, which is what causes the swelling and sometimes bruising around the ankle.
How bad is my ankle sprain?
Ankle sprains are graded in 3 different grades based on the severity of the injury.
- Mild sprain (grade I): This is the most common and least severe form. The ligaments are stretched but not torn. The ankle is still stable.
- Moderate sprain (grade II): This injury is more severe and more painful, and one or more ligaments are partially torn. The joint is somewhat unstable, movement is limited.
- Severe sprain (grade III): One or more ligaments are torn and the ankle is unstable. It’s very difficult to move the foot.
Getting a qualified professional opinion on the severity of your ankle sprain will ensure your injury is managed effectively and no further damage is done.
Do I need surgery?
Surgery is certainly NOT required for grade 1-2 sprains and is only required in very very few grade 3 sprains. You are best to consult a qualified health practitioner for the management of your ankle injury.
What do I do initially if I injury my ankle?
The initial 24-48 hours of any ankle injury are the most important and should be managed with:
>Ice (20 mins on every hour)
>Compression (do not sleep with the compression on).
It is important to consult your Osteopath/physician as early as possible to commence a rehab
Proper rehab is critically important in ankle sprains due to the fact that in about 2 out of 10 people who have a severe ankle sprain, the ankle remains permanently (chronically) unstable. This means that the joint still gives way too easily six months after the sprain has occurred. People who have a chronically unstable ankle are more likely to twist and sprain their ankle again, this can be counteracted with a good rehab program.
If you are are experiencing an injured ankle book in to see one our qualified Osteopaths for help with the management, treatment and rehabilitation of your ankle today!