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Ankle injuries are very common on the sporting field but can easily happen in everyday life such as tripping over a rock in the garden or even just walking on an uneven surface.

Ankle injuries are commonly associated with swelling, pain, bruising and decreased movement but how do you know what you have injured?

A sprain occurs when the ligament, the thick fibrous tissue that connects the bones, is overstretched or tears. There are lots of ligaments in the ankle and the most common ligament to be injured is on the outside of the ankle joint.

A strain is an injury to a muscle or a tendon. Muscles are strained when some or all of the muscle/tendon fibres fail to cope with the demands placed on them. Strains are more common to occur in the muscles in the back of your lower leg but there are a few tendons on the side of your ankle joint that can be strained.

What should I do if I’ve just injured my ankle?

Within the first 72 hours of injuring your ankle, start with some basic first aid principals.

Use RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) to settle down the acute pain and swelling. See physio Lauren Swan’s recent blog Should I use ice or heat on an injury?

If your ankle is still stiff, sore, feels a bit wobbly or you can’t walk normally, it is important to get your ankle assessed by a health professional.

How can a physiotherapist help?

A physiotherapist will assess your ankle injury and screen for other injuries. We will help to decrease your pain, swelling and improve your movement. We will grade the severity of your injury and plan your rehabilitation back to doing what you enjoy! Most importantly, we will give you exercises to improve your ankle strength and balance to help prevent another ankle injury.

The Physio Clinic also supply a range of compression garments and braces that can be useful in your recovery.

Natalie Bukojemski – Senior Physiotherapist