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Ankle Sprains

Ankle Sprains

Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain occurs when one or more of the ligaments (the strong bands that stabilise our ankle) is overextended or even torn. It is a relatively common injury that most people will sustain at least once in their lifetime, if not many times.

What are the causes of ankle sprains?

Ankle sprains often occur in sports that require jumping and landing, or where someone else might step on your foot, such as soccer, netball, basketball, rugby or volleyball. They also occur just as easily during normal daily activities, such as when walking on an uneven surface, when you accidentally catch your foot while walking, or from unstable shoes that don’t support your ankle and instead allow it to freely roll around.

What does an ankle sprain feel like?

At the time of injury, you’ll almost certainly feel like you’ve rolled your foot into an unusual position, which will be quickly followed by pain. Ankle sprains are actually categorised into different stages depending on the severity of the injury, which best help to describe symptoms:

1. Mild Sprain

  • Minor straining of the ligaments
  • Tenderness around the ankle and mild swelling

2. Moderate Sprain

  • Partial tear of one or more ligaments
  • Moderate to significant pain and tenderness around the ankle with some swelling and potential bruising
  • A feeling of instability when walking on the ankle
  • Painful to bear weight on the injured ankle
  • A feeling of some ankle weakness

3. Severe sprain

  • Complete tear (rupture) of one or more ligaments
  • Severe pain and tenderness around the ankle
  • Often significant swelling
  • Often bruising around the ankle
  • Substantial instability in the ankle joint
  • Inability to bear weight on the injured ankle without significant pain

Chronic ankle instability

It’s very important to note that when ankle sprains aren’t efficiently treated, the ligaments do not fully recover and are left in a weakened state. This means the ankle is not as stable as it once was, even when the pain has fully subsided. This makes you more vulnerable to further ankle sprains, and further weakness and damage. This is called chronic ankle instability. With effective and timely management of ankle sprains, we’re able to help prevent chronic ankle instability and rehabilitate weakened tissues to a stronger state.

How do you help with ankle sprains?

Understanding how the tissue works is key to rehabilitating long standing injuries of any kind. Rehabilitating ankles has to be specific to tissue causing pain and then develop into being functional to the activities you love doing. We work hard on developing functional program specific to your goals. This many include continuing to strap your ankle or using a brace for high risk activities to avoid future surgery or re-injuring it.

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