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Ankle Sprains

Ankle Sprains


Ankle sprains are a very common sports injury seen in our Dublin 4 physiotherapy clinic. These sprains often result from a movement where the foot is forcibly turned in. This can happen when landing from a jump, stepping down off the footpath or even from walking in high heels. People often wonder if they need an X-ray when they have a sprained ankle. If the bone on the outside or inside of the ankle is very tender and you were unable to put any weight on it when the sprain happened you may need an X-ray. If not you may still need crutches to help relieve pressure on the ankle if your pain is severe.

RICE Regime

In the first few days you can follow the RICE regime to help your ankle injury:

  1. Rest the ankle from any unnecessary activity, this helps to avoid any further injury to the damaged ligaments in the ankle.
  2. Place Ice or something cold (e.g. bag of frozen peas wrapped in a damp towel) on the affected area for 15-20 minutes regularly throughout the day.
  3. Make sure you check the condition of your skin after the ice to ensure it is not being irritated. Compress the area using an elastic bandage.
  4. Elevate the affected leg when it is not in use.

These four steps help to control swelling and inflammation and promote healing. In the clinic we see much faster healing times when the ankle has been looked after properly in the first 72 hours following injury.

Many people wonder about the recovery time from an ankle sprain. For some mild ankle sprains following the RICE regime followed by a gradual return to sport and activity over 7-10 days may be all that’s needed. This may be considered a mild sprain or Grade 1. For more severe sprains, Grade 2 or 3, stiffness and weakness in the ankle can persist for weeks and even months. If you feel your ankle sprain is more than just mild you may benefit from physiotherapy assessment. Our physiotherapists will assess the movement and strength around the ankle.

Treatment for an ankle sprain can involve mobilisations to the ankle and subtaler joints to improve movement, and strengthening and balance work to restore correct muscle control around the ankle. Your physiotherapist will also advise you on a graduated return to sport and will advise you if a brace or tape is required for playing. Please contact us for further information or to book an appointment.

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