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How do I know if I sprained my ankle?

How do I know if I sprained my ankle?


An ankle sprain  is a common complaint among the general public from sports fanatics to every day walkers. It is commonly seen here in the clinic. Correct diagnoses and treatment is important to get you back on your feet in a timely manner and prevent further injury.

How did it happen?

Ankle sprains ordinarily occur during exercise or sports requiring a rapid change of direction, jumping and landing. However, an ankle sprain can also occur from something as simple as missing a step or rolling your ankle on an uneven surface.

What is an ankle sprain?

The tissue that is typically damage when we class this injury as a sprain is a ligament or several ligaments. The ligaments of the ankle attach bone to bone via their insertions and origins in the ankle. They also allow the ankle joint to have fluid, kinematic motion, which gives balance and stability to the ankle. There primary role of the ligaments is to provide stability at the ankle joint and prevent excessive motion of the joint. As result, when these ligaments are injured, it can substantially affect an individual’s movement, balance, and stability.

Signs and symptoms of an ankle sprain

  • An incident where you ‘went over’ on your ankle- which may have occurred in any of the following movements – fall, trip, jumping, landing, or changing direction.
  • Swelling
  • Bruising
  • Pain
  • Reduced functional ability- putting weight on your foot, walking, running, jumping

Most commonly ankle sprains tend to affect the ligaments on the outside of the ankle. The typical method of injury is an inversion injury, which describes rolling onto the outer ankle, as your foot turns inwards. Ligaments may just be overstretched, or in more serious cases, completely ruptured. This is turn affects the individual’s range of movement, stability, balance, and ability to walk/run.

After a sprain occurs, it can be classified as Grade I, Grade II, or Grade III, depending on the severity of the ligament tear.

Role of physiotherapy in an ankle sprain

Firstly your physiotherapist will conduct a thorough assessment of the ankle to assess the severity of the ankle sprain and also to out-rule any other injuries to the joint, muscles and bones. Regardless of the severity of the ankle injury, rehabilitation and strengthening must be carried out in order to prevent on-going disability and also avoid recurrent ankle sprains in the future. Individualised treatment from your physiotherapist will help you regain your functional ability and get you back moving as before.

If you have hurt your ankle and think you may have an ankle sprain, book an appointment with one of physiotherapists today. Here in the clinic we have two Physiotherapist who have a MSc in Sports and Exercises Medicine with a wide range of sports physio experience. Just ask for Dave or Olive when you call (01) 660 6582. You can also book online.

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