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Common Conditions

Ankle Sprains

25/09/2020

An ankle sprain is an injury to the tough band of tissues (ligaments) that surround and connect the bones of the leg, to the foot. The injury typically happens when you accidentally twist or turn your ankle in an awkward manner. This can stretch or tear the ligaments that hold your ankle bones and joints together. All ligaments have a specific range of motion and boundaries that allow them to keep the joints stabilised. When ligaments surrounding the ankle are pushed past these boundaries, it causes a sprain. Sprained ankles most commonly involve injuries to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle.

Anything that stretches your ankle more than it is used to, can hurt a ligament. This usually happens when your foot is turned inward or twisted. Causes of an Ankle Sprain may include walking or exercising on an uneven surface, falling down or participating in sports that require cutting actions or rolling and twisting of the foot —such as basketball, tennis and soccer.

There are three different grades of inversion ankle sprains.

Mild (Grade I)
Your ligaments are stretched but not torn. Your ankle still feels stable. You may have some pain and stiffness.

Moderate (Grade II)
One or more ligaments are partially torn. The joint is not totally stable and you cannot move it as much as usual. You will have swelling and moderate pain.

Severe (Grade III)
One or more ligaments are totally torn. Your ankle is unstable. You will have a lot of pain and cannot move the ankle.

Symptoms of an Ankle Sprain may include swelling, bruising, tenderness to touch and instability of the ankle. This may occur when there has been complete tearing of the ligament or a complete dislocation of the ankle joint. If there is severe tearing of the ligaments, you might also hear or feel a “pop” when the sprain occurs.

When an ankle sprain occurs, ensuring that one receives proper medical and rehabilitation is critical to optimise the function of the ankle. Apart from manual therapy to help manage the pain and swelling, ice therapy and ultrasound therapy may also be incorporated into the treatment. Personalised stretches and exercises aimed at regaining the full range of motion will be prescribed while the ankle heals. As treatment progresses, your therapist will then introduce functional training to prevent recurrence of the injury. If in doubt, seek professional advice.