As a Podiatrist I frequently have clients come into the clinic experiencing ongoing ankle instability and pain after having a sprain; this leaves me with the question:
How can I better help my clients to return to sport and activity quicker following an ankle sprain?
I often have clients come in my clinic with an ankle sprain that has happened following a sudden twist or roll or after landing on an uneven surface. This sudden movement causes an overload of the outside ankle ligaments that result in a sprain. These sprains are often referred to as inversion ankle sprains and are common in multi-directional, high-speed sports.
Repeated sprain sprains can occur when there is a weakness in the ligaments and surrounding tendons of the ankle.
Ankle sprains can be painful and prevent you from being able to carry out your daily activities; I recommend these four key points to follow immediately after an ankle sprain:
By knowing what grade of ankle sprain you have had will affect your management plan that I will provide you with; ankle sprains are graded from a small to a large amount of damage:
Grade 1: sprain or stretch in an ankle ligament and a small amount of swelling
Grade 2: partial tear of ankle ligament(s), bruising, sore to touch and a large amount of swelling
Grade 3: a complete tear of ankle ligament(s), lots of bruising, very sore to touch, a larger amount of swelling and a large decrease in ankle range of motion
An X-ray is recommended when:
Podiatrists are the experts in lower limb biomechanics and function.
We will assess your lower limb function and gait and provide you with an individualised management plan based on the areas that need strengthening and load management. My management plan consists of four phases:
Phase 1: Offload the damaged tissues
Phase 2: Improve the health of the surrounding ankle tissues
Phase 3: Make the tissues stronger
Phase 4: Return to sport with bracing
Bracing your ankle after an ankle sprain is an important step in the rehabilitation process. Braces are designed to reduce the load on the damaged ankle ligaments while they heal and strengthen.
Evidence suggests the use of a brace for at least 6 months after an ankle sprain in combination with an ankle strengthening program.
Prevention of ankle sprains is best achieved with a functional balance exercise program with the management of load.
Below is an example of a successful program that I frequently use in clinic:
The goal of this program is to expose the ankle to unpredictable situations in a controlled environment.
My passion is working with active, healthy families to keep them doing what they love doing. If you have questions about your ankle sprain, I'd love to help. Just put your details in the form below with a contact number and the best time to call; I'd love to talk about how I can help solve your ankle problems.
Yours in building healthy families, from the feet up,
Podiatrist, Complete Podiatry
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