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If you have been involved in sport or the occasional boogey on a Saturday night, the chances are that you’ve probably sprained your ankle at some stage in your life.

Lateral (or outside) ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries sustained in sport, and can often take a while to recover from. In this blog, we’ll outline what a sprained ankle is and give you some tips on how to manage it.

Ankle sprains account for around 15-30% of all sporting injuries and are very common in everyday activities. Ankle sprains occur when the ligaments that stabilise the ankle joint are stretched beyond their normal limits, causing damage to the ligament and associated swelling and bruising around the joint. Most ankle sprains are sustained to the outer side of the ankle when it is rolled inwards, but you can also sustain sprained ligaments to the inside of your ankle, these are just less likely.

Initial management should involve rest, ice, compression and elevation until you’ve seen your physio. It is important to establish the severity of the ankle sprain and rule out the possibility of a fracture before further management is taken. Your physio will guide you through a 3 phase rehab program to get you back on the dance floor.

Phase 1: appropriate rest to promote healing, swelling management and measures to protect the ankle.

Phase 2: rehabilitation to restore range of motion, strength and flexibility.

Phase 3: gradual return to normal activities and sport specific retraining.

These 3 phases can take anywhere between 2 and 18 weeks, depending on the severity of the injury. In some severe cases, a second opinion might be encouraged where surgery may be indicated.

Without proper management, sprained ankles can cause some negative long term effects including chronic instability, decreased range of motion, reduced strength and persistent pain. Some studies have shown that 80% of people who sustain a lateral ankle sprain are likely to reinjure when there is inadequate rehabilitation or premature return to sport. 

To find out more information, come in and speak to the team at The Physio Clinic or give the clinic a call!

By Jordan Campbell | Physiotherapist