Ankle Sprains

Welcome back to the Palmerston Physiotherapy Clinic blog for the second edition of this monthly series.

With it slowly drawing closer to the start of the dry season we’re starting to see the pre-season training sessions for many sports getting into full swing and coupled with this at the clinic we start to see a rise in sporting-related injuries.

Research has shown that ankle sprains, or as they are more commonly known “rolled ankles”, are one of the most common injuries in sporting and non-sporting people. Despite it being a common injury there are quite a few misconceptions about how serious this injury actually is.

It was previously assumed that simple ankle sprains were a “self-limiting injury”, meaning that they would resolve of their own accord and would heal back to pre-injury condition without rehabilitation. The research has demonstrated that 70% of people, without rehabilitation, at 6 months following an ankle sprain had on-going pain and dysfunction… that’s a pretty significant amount!!

It is important for you to have your ankle assessed after you have rolled it because there are a number of different structures in the ankle that can be damaged and a thorough assessment will figure out what has happened, and ensure that there isn’t anything more serious going on (such as a fracture!).

Effects of a rolled ankle

One of the most detrimental things that happens when someone has rolled their ankle, apart from the pain it causes, is they lose range of movement in the joint, when the “dorsiflexion” range of movement is reduced it makes activities like running, climbing/descending stairs or even something as simple as squatting down, much harder. This in turn can then cause the body to make compensatory movements which can cause muscle imbalances or poor movement patterns which can then cause further injuries!

Another common dysfunction is a loss of balance, which can impact on your ability to walk or move on uneven surfaces which could possible cause you to re-roll your ankle or even fall over!

It is also important to note that it has been found that people who have sprained one ankle are just as likely to sprain the un-injured ankle as they are to re-sprain the affected one. Which leads into the next important thing to consider, which is about people who have had numerous rolled ankles in the past.

It’s never too late to re-assess your ankles

If you are someone who has had many rolled ankles in the past, and feel like you could re-roll your ankle at the drop of a hat, it’s never too late to implement a rehabilitation program focussed on retraining the strength and balance of the ankle joint and other associated joints. This individualised program can help decrease the chances of you re-hurting that ankle and get you back into your sport, whether it’s being a weekend warrior or playing for the Territory Thunder!

So all of this demonstrates the importance of having a thorough assessment and treatment plan put into place by your friendly Palmerston Physiotherapy Clinic Physiotherapist to ensure as quick and effective recovery as possible.