An ankle sprain is one of the most common types of ankle injury. It is where one of the ankle ligaments get overstretched, usually when the foot twists suddenly inwards, such as when you misstep on uneven ground. The foot is forced into an abnormal position which overstretches the ligament which can cause it to tear.
A twisted ankle can lead to the overstretching and tearing of one of the ligaments around the ankle joint and is known as an ankle sprain. The ankle joint is surrounded by a number of ligaments. Ligaments are strong fibrous tissues which hold the bones together, provide stability and support.
CAUSES OF ANKLE SPRAIN
- Usually from quick-shifting movement or jumping
- Walking and running on uneven ground
- High heels
Previous injury –
- Recurrent ankle sprain is common in people. They often don’t regain full movement and proprioception (sense of joint position), resulting in a decrease in balance.
SYMPTOMS OF ANKLE SPRAIN
- Patients feel the pain immediately with a twisted ankle if it is severe enough to have sprained the ligament.
- There are three grades of ankle sprain. Symptoms will vary depending on the severity of the sprain.
- When there is mild damage in the ligament, there will be mild pain with ankle movements and the ankle may become tender
- Some swelling and bruising
- No instability
- People can usually walk normally
- Moderate ligament damage
- Immediate pain and swelling
- Bruising at the time of injury due to bleeding
- Difficulty to walk
- The ankle may feel slightly unstable
- Movement is limited
- A severe tear in the ankle’s ligament known as rupture
- There may be popping sounds at the time of the injury
- There will be significant pain, swelling, bruising around the ankle and often down into the foot
- Walking is often impossible
- The ankle may feel unstable
- To start with the best ankle sprain treatment is PRICE i.e. Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
- This aims to reduce the bleeding, swelling and pain around the injured ligament which helps to speed up the healing process.
- For a sprained ankle, the first aid starts with protecting the ankle from further injury.
- For severe cases, a plaster cast may be applied to limit the ankle movement.
- For less severe cases an ankle brace may help to support the foot.
- Avoid activities that aggravate your symptoms
- Keeping the foot elevated higher than the level of your heart will help you to reduce the swelling. Swelling tends to pull around the ankle due to gravity, so keeping the foot elevated can make a difference as it drains excess fluids away.
- Exercises are a really important part of ankle sprain treatment.
- They help to mobilize the joint and work the muscle.
- Help to prevent stiffness and weakness.
- The movement also helps to speed up the healing process by improving circulation.
As well as doing ROM exercises and Strengthening and exercises. Balance and proprioceptive exercises are really important to regain stability around your ankle as part of your ankle sprain.
Foot and ankle strengthening exercises help to improve the strength, control and movement of the foot.
Rehab following the injury is extremely important to prevent a long term reoccurrence. 35% of people who suffer from ankle sprain go into reoccurrence of the injury within a year because they have failed to regain full strength, control and mobility around the ankle.
Static exercises –
- Strengthen the muscle without causing the movement of the muscle. Pulling the ankle up, down, turn in, turn out against resistance.
Resistance Exercises –
- Further strengthening includes Theraband exercises. Theraband is a strong resistance band, a bit like a large elastic band. Resisting the ankle movements using the Theraband increases ankle strength and stability.
Proprioceptive exercise –
- There are many proprioceptive receptors located in the ankle and knee which helps to control the balance and proprioception. So, when the ankle is injured balance and proprioception are affected. Therefore it is necessary to concentrate on these exercises as well. These include all the balance exercises as well as exercises using the equipment like foam board, wobble board, swiss ball, bozu ball, trampoline.
Dynamic Exercises –
- Arch lifts
- Towel scrunches
- Marble pick-ups
- Toe band exercises
- Toe squeezes
Matrix Rhythm Therapy
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