Not Only “Just An Ankle Sprain”

One of the most common injuries we see in our Physio clinic is the lateral ankle sprain. Whether you went over on your ankle on your lunchtime run, or stepping out of the pub, there are some weird and wonderful ways people have managed to sprain their ankle, and we have seen them all.  What seems like an innocuous injury to most is far too often under managed and can lead to increased risk of further injury in the future.  The simple “Rolled Ankle” isn’t so simple.

A lateral ankle sprain (LAS) is the most common lower limb musculoskeletal injury incurred by sporting and non-sporting individuals.  Up to 70% of the population will incur a lateral ankle injury at some point in their life. Unfortunately, despite the high prevalence and incidence of this injury, it is reported that less than 50% of people who sustain an LAS seek medical attention.  This may be the reason why such a high proportion of those that incur an ankle sprain go on to experience Chronic Ankle Instability (CAI).

CAI is defined as persistent complaints of pain, swelling, reduced range of motion and/or episodes of giving way 12 months or more post injury.  For such a seemingly simple injury, 12 months following injury 30% of the sporting population and 20% of the general population go on to develop Chronic Ankle instability. Therefore, ankle injuries need to be respected and rehabilitation needs to be completed with your Physio.

Exercise therapy in the acute injury phase has shown to have superior results to more conservative management options.  Specific exercise prescription has shown to significantly reduce the risk of ankle sprain recurrence, and its effectiveness is improved if the exercise therapy is given in high doses (>900mins).  900 minutes sounds considerable for any injury, but this is achievable by performing your strength, balance, proprioception and sport-specific exercises for 30 minutes, 5 days a week for 6 weeks.  This may seem like a considerable effort, but this is necessary to reduce your risk of injury and maximise your performance when returning to sport.

In additional to exercise therapy, we can provide you with expert opinion on bracing and strapping of the ankle.  Currently there is strong evidence to support the use of bracing and taping for a minimum of 6 months following injury for all training and game play.

A thorough assessment of the ankle is required following an ankle injury to assess, plan and deliver an appropriate plan for you to return to sport or whatever your goals are.  At Bend + Mend, we are experts in providing you with:

  • Accurate diagnosis (what structures are causing your impairment)
  • Expert guided prognosis (when you are likely to be ready to return to sport, not only just pain free)
  • Specific exercise and rehabilitation planning to reduce the risk of Chronic Ankle Instability, prevent further injury and maximise your performance when returning to sport.

Book in to see your Bend + Mend Physio and return to sport with confidence.

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