|Ankle Sprains |
Ankle joints and feet
are the link between your body and the ground. If the ankle twists
as the foot hits the ground, particularly during a fall, this may
cause a sprain. Physiotherapists provide advice and treatment to
speed up healing and restore full performance.
|What is Ankle
The ankle joint is made up of four bones. The
shape of each bone helps to make the joint stable. Stability around
the joint is increased by the ligaments, which are bands of strong
connective tissue that prevent unwanted movement.
ankle twists, the ligaments usually prevent the joint from moving
too much. An ankle sprain occurs when one of the supporting
ligaments is stretched too far or too quickly, causing the
ligament's fibres to tear and bleed into the surrounding tissues.
This bleeding causes pain then swelling.
|What Should I Do
After a Sprain? |
In the first 24 to 72 hours after injury, use
the R.I.C.E. method:
Rest: Take it easy, but move
within your limit of pain.
Ice: Apply ice for 15 minutes
2 hours. This helps control pain and bleeding.
Compression: Firmly bandage the entire ankle,
foot and lower leg. This reduces swelling.
Elevation: Have your ankle and leg well
supported, higher than the level of your heart. This reduces
bleeding and swelling. If there is still swelling and pain after 24
hours, visit your local physiotherapist or doctor. Your chances of a
full recovery will also be helped if you avoid the H.A.R.M. factors
in the first 48 hours.
Heat: Increases swelling and
Alcohol: Increases swelling and bleeding.
Running or exercise: Aggravates the injury.
Massage: Increases swelling and bleeding.
Physiotherapists Help? |
will examine the sprain to determine the extent of your injury.
Prompt physiotherapy treatment will reduce the swelling, making it
easier to walk after two or three days. To help you return to normal
activity quickly, your physiotherapist can show you how to tape your
ankle and give you exercises to improve strength and control. If
necessary, your physiotherapist can order an x-ray, or suggest that
you see a doctor.
Will I Need a Lot of Treatment?
Your physiotherapist will discuss the injury with you and
estimate the number of treatments needed. No two injuries are ever
the same. A minor ankle sprain may need between one and four
||How Soon Can I
Return to Work or Sport? |
This will depend on how
badly you have damaged the ankle ligament. Returning to work or
sport too early can delay healing and prolong recovery.
Bracing and taping may allow early return to sport, but
normal ankle ligament strength and muscle control will take longer
to return than the time it takes for pain and swelling to subside.
Your physiotherapist can help you plan ways to maintain
fitness while your ankle is healing.
|Can Ankle Sprains be
You can reduce the chance of ankle injury.
||Warm up before you exercise. Warm down when you
||Wear well-fitting shoes, boots or ankle braces that
give good lateral ankle joint
||Avoid activities on slippery, wet or uneven
surfaces, or in areas with poor lighting.|
||Maintain good general fitness.
A doctor's referral is
not required to see a physiotherapist in private practice. A
proportion of treatment costs is rebatable under all higher table
| By courtesy of the Australian Physiotherapy Association