Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries that present to the doctors office and accounts for a large proportion of missed workdays and disability. About 35% of sporting injuries are ankle sprains, making them the most common type of sporting injury. Ankle sprains can affect just about anyone from women who wear high heels walking on uneven surfaces, to athletes involved in sports that require a high level of speed, agility and power such as basketball, netball and soccer. The most common ankle sprain is known as a lateral ankle sprain or inversion sprain.
The ankle joint is a synovial hinge joint, that allows the ankle to dorsiflex and plantarflex, evert and invert (roll in and out). It allows a little wiggle from side to side, but most of the rest of the movement comes from the foot joints. The ankle joint is made up of distal ends of the tibia and fibula, which form a socket that fits over the top portion of the talus. Several ligaments hold the bones and joints in position. They protect the ankle joint from abnormal movements—especially twisting, turning, and rolling of the foot. Ligaments usually stretch within their limits, and then go back to their normal positions. When a ligament is forced to stretch beyond its normal range, a sprain occurs. A severe sprain causes actual tearing of the elastic fibres
Signs and symptoms
- Pain, especially when you bear weight on the affected foot
- Swelling and, sometimes, bruising
- Restricted range of motion
Ankle sprains are graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on severity.
Grade 1 (mild)
- Minor tear of ligaments
- Mild pain
- Little or no joint instability
- Slight loss of balance
Grade 2 (moderate)
- Moderate tear of ligaments
- Moderate to severe pain
- Moderate joint instability
- Poor balance
- Swelling and stiffness
Grade 3 (severe)
- Complete tear of the ligament
- Severe pain during the injury
- Severe instability of the joint
- Significant swelling
- Poor balance
- History of previous sprained ankle
- Reduced ankle mobility and flexibility
- Reduced ankle strength
- Sudden change in direction, acceleration or deceleration
- Poor balance
- Uneven surface
Immediate treatment should consist of rest, ice, compression and elevation (R.I.C.E). Ice should be used 20 minutes on and 40 minutes rest, at least 3 times a day.
Our Newtown chiropractors can provide:
- Soft tissue treatment of the ligament scar tissue to promote optimal stability and range of motion.
- Active and passive mobility exercises to restore normal range of motion to the foot and ankle complex.
- Balancing exercises to re-strengthen the receptors housed in the ligament that provide stability and improve position sense (proprioception).
- Provide and assist with braces/strapping products if required for more vigorous exercise.
It is also important to consider the various predisposing factors that may have caused the injury in the first place. This may include:
- Poor foot/ankle mechanics, i.e. a stiff ankle joint will tend to make the ligaments work harder
- Poor footwear
- Joint restrictions and muscle tightness in the lower back, hips and or knees.
- A leg length discrepancy, which may be overloading one particular ankle.
Most ankle sprains respond favourably to nonsurgical treatment. Therefore, accurate diagnosis and prompt rehabilitation can restore range of motion to the joint and allow you to return to your activities sooner rather then later. Sprains left untreated can sometimes lead to further damage in the future and compensatory dysfunctions throughout the rest of your body.
Whether you are a weekend warrior or an elite athlete, our team of skilled chiropractors can help to diagnose and treat your ankle injury and help to get you back on the road to recovery.
Give us a call on: (02) 80950393 or book online to arrange an appointment