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Ankle sprains

Ankle sprains are really quite common and can really vary in severity. They are reported to be the most common musculoskeletal injury in the active population with the outside of the ankle being the most common side*. Because of this we thought we’d do a blog on them as we haven’t done anything in ages, we were talking about them in a clinic teaching session and at the moment the author is sat in A&E making sure she has got one and not a broken one!

So the classic sprain is the twisted ankle where we roll over towards the outside of the foot. Sometimes it is just unavoidable because of the surface we are moving on – cobbles, moorland (and potholes in my case) and the speed at which we are doing it eg running. We can even break the tip of bone off the the outside of shin bone – fibula, and it is still classed as a ligament sprain. The classic rolling in of the ankle causes the ligaments to get overstretched and fibres can tear. The extent of the tearing determines the severity of the sprain.

Most will heal well especially when we do all the right things to help them recover. Most won’t lead to long term problems as most of us who have turned their ankle at some point will confirm. There are a few symptoms that might need us to exclude a fracture like the inability to bear weight through that leg due to pain and acute tenderness on touching the tips of the shin bones around the ankle. It’s worth a visit to minor injuries or A&E if you’re worried.

So with the caveat covered, what to do with an ankle sprain…. weight bear as pain allows and do take over the counter pain killers if needed. Appropriate rest is a good idea, ie don’t go for a run a couple of days after spraining your ankle but do walk on it. The ankle serves several purposes so physiotherapy is about regaining the function of the lower limb – to balance the body on the foot, to take body weight, propel us along and adapt to the surface we are on. So we need balance with feedback, mobility, strength through that limb and ankle. A loss or deficit in any of those for a while (and a while can be anything from a couple of weeks to a couple of months) after injury can impact your ability to return to normal activity.

In the video we’ll go through some ‘early’ post-injury exercises you can do as well as some more advanced exercises for the later stages of rehab.  Obviously we can’t cover everything but hopefully this gives you some pointers and if you think you might need more help following an injury please give us a ring o 656340 or you can book in online here.



* From NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries


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