Almost everyone has suffered an ankle sprain at some in their life; in fact, it is one of the most common reasons for people to visit our physiotherapy clinic in Epsom. Technically an ankle sprain has occurred when an ankle twists, causing damage to one of it’s supporting ligaments. The ligaments are overstretched, partially torn or completely ruptured, depending on the force of the injury. The ligament that is commonly involved is the ATFL, or the anterior-talofibular ligament, located on the outside of the ankle.
While there are many ligaments surrounding and supporting the ankle, this ligament is the most vulnerable. Athletes who jump while moving in different directions, such as basketball players, are the most prone to this injury. They often land on their foot when it is not completely flat, twisting it and injuring the ligaments.
Most people won’t have any problem diagnosing that they have an ankle sprain. The symptoms are pain, swelling and tenderness over the area of damage, typically on the outside of the ankle. Depending on the severity, there may be bruising, reduced range of movement, instability and pain with weight bearing. In more severe injuries there may even be a loss of function. This is characterised by being unable to walk on the ankle and numbness and/or a feeling of coldness in the foot.
Twisted ankles can also cause a fracture of the ankle, not just ligament damage. Many times, a bad ankle sprain and a fracture cannot be told apart without proper medical assessment and an X-ray. Your physiotherapist can identify if your sprain is severe enough to need further investigation to rule out a fracture. They will also classify the severity of the ankle sprain, providing you with a clear course of treatment. There are many factors that can lead someone to be more prone to fractures. These include general hyper flexibility, unsupportive footwear and anatomical structure.
However, by far the most common reason for an ankle sprain is the existence of a previous sprain without complete rehabilitation. This is because following an ankle sprain, many people are left with weakness, instability or stiffness, reduced balance and proprioception. These things can mean that the next time your ankle is in a vulnerable position you don’t have the strength or control to stop the movement that can cause an injury.
As well as helping you reduce and recover from the pain and swelling of the injury in the early days, our physiotherapists are well trained to identify which issues are likely to affect you in the future. Our expert physiotherapists are highly trained to treat your ankle sprain and assist you with a personalized rehabilitation program to ensure your ankle is as strong and stable as possible to reduce the risk of future injuries. Is your ankle sprain stopping you from doing what you love? Contact us today to book an appointment we will see you back on your feet again.