Understanding & Treating Ankle Sprains
What is an Ankle Sprain?
Ankle sprains are frequent injuries that can occur across one’s lifespan. The most common, lateral ankle sprains generally occur from an uncontrolled force resulting when the foot turns and rolls inward while the toes are pointed away from the body. The mechanism of injury outlined above results in overstretching and disruption, or complete rupture of ligament(s) as well as muscles. The most commonly injured ligament is the anterior tibiofibular ligament (ATFL).
Ankle Joint Anatomy
There are 3 bones associated with the ankle joint: the tibia, fibular and talus. These bones make up the talocrural joint, commonly referred to as the ankle. The calf, peronei and tibialis anterior musculature assist the talocrural, a hinge joint, to move into plantarflexion and dorsiflexion. There are three ligaments found along the lateral talocrural joint: the ATFL, calcaneofibular ligament (CF), and posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL). These ligaments assist in stability and proprioception during movement.
Symptoms: after an ankle sprain a person may experience
- Decreased mobility of the joint
- Difficulty walking
Average ankle sprain healing time
Healing time will vary from individual and the severity of the sprain. Typically an ankle sprain, when cared for properly, can heal within 6 weeks.
What can physiotherapy do for your ankle sprain?
- In the first 48 hours after a sprain, your sports physiotherapist will initially focus on the PRICE principle (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) to manage the acute nature of the injury.
- Faster recovery time: Your physiotherapist will determine what type of treatment is required for your specific ankle sprain facilitating recovery.
- Improve joint range of motion: Joint mobilization and exercises prescribed by your physiotherapist will help to improve mobility of your ankle joint.
- A functional exercise program based on your lifestyle will be developed by your physiotherapist to improve strength and restoration of preinjury endurance and agility.
- Prevention: Ankle sprains commonly reoccur and can progress to chronic injuries due to joint instability, decreased proprioception (ability for foot to know where it is in space while moving) and decreased muscular strength. By receiving treatment and education from your physiotherapist your ankle will heal effectively, decreasing the chance of ankle sprain recurrence and chronic injuries.
Visit our Burnaby Sports Physiotherapy Clinic
Heather Enders, our Burnaby Sports Physiotherapist, is the writer of this ankle sprain blog. If you have any questions regarding ankle sprains or need an assessment from our Burnaby Physio Clinic please contact us at 604-558-2273 and we would be happy to see you.