What is an ankle sprain?
An ankle sprain is one of the most common types of musculoskeletal injuries. Sometimes referred to as a ‘twisted ankle’ or a ‘rolled ankle’, an ankle sprain is where one or more ligaments of the ankle are torn or partially torn.
What causes an ankle sprain?
The function of ligaments is to connect bones to form joints. Ligaments are tough fibrous connective tissue which when stretched beyond their normal limits, will tear.
In the ankle, there are three main types of sprains:
- Inversion injury – caused by the ankle rolling inward and damaging one or more of the lateral ligaments, which are located on the outside of the ankle. This is the most common type of ankle sprain
- Eversion injury – a less common injury affecting the medial ligament on the inside of the ankle
- High ankle sprain or syndesmotic ankle sprain – affecting the ligaments connecting the lower portions of the tibia and fibula. This type of injury is caused by the lower leg and foot being twisted out
How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy for ankle sprains is aimed at reducing pain and swelling in the ankle and restoring strength and function. Too often ankle sprains are left untreated, leading to problems with instability and further injury down the track.
A physiotherapist will take a detailed history to determine the cause of your sprain and perform a physical assessment to determine its severity.
Treatment may include RICER, strengthening and proprioceptive (balance) exercises, and advice regarding return to sport, strapping or bracing.