What is a sprained ankle?
Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries we see, especially in a sporting population! Although there are a number of different ligaments we could potentially sprain, the most common and frequently seen is a sprain of the lateral ligaments (those that support the outside of your ankle), specifically the ATFL.
Cause and symptoms
The usual mechanism of injury for an ankle sprain is an inward rolling of the ankle and foot, +/- pointing of the foot too. There may also be an audible snap, crack or tear.
Ankle sprains can be graded based on their severity
- Grade 1: mild sprain, no extra laxity of the ligament (no extra stretch)
- Grade 2: moderate sprain, some laxity of the ligament (bit of extra stretch)
- Grade 3: severe sprain, full tear of the ligament
Physiotherapy management can begin straight away, initially with some strategies to help manage the swelling and inflammation. From here we will get straight into exercises which help improve range of motion, strength and proprioception (balance). As the ankle becomes less sore we will continue to improve strength and balance, and will also incorporate some more functional exercises (e.g. jumping, hopping) as well as some sport or activity specific movements/exercises.