Who has ever rolled their ankle?
Ankle injuries are so so common in athletes and us normal people. An inversion ankle sprain occurs when we roll out and the ligaments that are surrounding the ankle become overstretched and even torn in some cases.
Any sports that require jumping, turning and twisting movements or explosive changes of direction, puts individuals at higher risk of sustaining an ankle sprain. Ankle injuries can also occur during sport from trauma if someone or something comes into contact with your ankle.
If adequate treatment and rehabilitation is not sought out following an ankle sprain, then the ankle joint may become unstable, stiff and long term,
- Proven risk factors for ankle sprains (Sports Medicine Australia, 2017)
- Previous or existing ankle injuries
- Lack of stability and strength around the ankle
- Hypermobility around the ankle joint, or lack of flexibility in the ankle joint
- Poor balance control
- Increased age
- Sudden changes in direction
Suspected risk factors for ankle sprains (Sports Medicine Australia, 2017)
- Poor condition of playing surface
- Inadequate warm-up, no warm-up
- Inappropriate footwear
- Lack of external support for previously injured ankles (if required)
There are 3 grades of ankle sprain from grade 1 (mild) to grade 3 (severe). And it is important to assess the grade of your ankle injury to have a better understanding of the prognosis and treatment options.
Initially, if you suspect you have injured your ankle, it is important to treat under the RICE principle in the first 48-72 hours. RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) aims to reduce the damage and the inflammation within the injured ankle to ensure a quicker recovery time. You should also avoid alcohol, running (or activity), heat and massage if you have injured your ankle, as this can increase inflammation and make the injury worse.
Most sprains to the ankle heal within 2-6 weeks, however, more severe ones take up to 12 weeks. Rehabilitation following an ankle injury is paramount and must not be underestimated. Rehabilitation involves strength, flexibility, proprioception and stretching.
If you have injured your ankle or suspect an ankle sprain, it is very important to seek treatment and advice from your podiatrist as soon as possible.