Just a simple ankle sprain?
Rolled ankle? Tweaked ankle? Ankle sprains are the most common lower limb musculoskeletal injury suffered by individuals who participate in sports (Gribble et al 2016), with up to 70% of the general population sustaining an ankle injury during their lifetime (Hiller et al 2012).
Ankle sprains also tend to recur, with the highest re-injury rate of all lower limb musculoskeletal injuries (Anandacoomarasamy et al 2005), and with anyone sustaining an injury facing a twofold increased risk of re-injury in the year following their initial injury (Verhagen 2005). As high as 40% of individuals with an ankle sprain will go on to develop chronic ankle instability in as little as 12 months.(Doherty et al 2016). So are these injuries just a “simple ankle sprain”?
Unfortunately up to 50% of individuals who suffer an acute lateral ankle sprain fail to seek healthcare management for their injury (McKay et al 2003).
So what should you do if you suffer an ankle sprain? Firstly get a DIAGNOSIS! It’s important to know exactly what has been injured and to rule out any nasties (i.e. fracture).
Once you have a diagnosis, then get a PLAN moving forward! A thorough assessment will ensure that treatment and rehabilitation can address any issues identified, and reduce the chances of you suffering another injury, and get you back out there as soon as possible.
At Health & High Performance, we utilize a number of tests, including the AxIT system, to accurately diagnose your problem, and ensure a faster return to play. Read more about the AxIT system here
It’s vital to see your health practitioner to firstly assess and diagnose your problem and secondly to create an INDIVIDUALIZED rehabilitation program.
Here is an example of some of the things that we will get patients to do optimize recovering from an ankle sprain:
Anti inflammatories? Care should be taken with using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) after an ankle sprain. They may be used to reduce pain and swelling, but usage is not without complications and NSAIDs may suppress the natural healing process (Vuurberg, G., et al.2018).
Ice and compression can be useful to help with ankle swelling and pain. Apply ice to the ankle either with an ice pack or submerse in a bucket of water and ice for 15 minutes at a time. This can be reapplied every 2 hours in the early stages. Compression bandages can be worn throughout the day and night for the first week to also assist with swelling.
Whilst the amount of swelling doesn’t equate to the amount of damage, if the ankle repeatedly swells, it can indicate that you are doing too much on it early on.
Early bracing? Based upon the review by Vuurberg, G., et al, the current recommendation for all acute ankle sprains includes short-term immobilization in a cast or a removable semi-rigid or lace-up brace for 7-10 days followed by early, functional rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation & return to sport
“Every ankle sprain injury is unique, treatment should be too”
Below is a guide of some exercises that can be used for rehabilitation. Your sports chiropractor should individualize these exercises after a thorough assessment.
Knee to wall test
Multi directional reaches
Calf raise isotonics
Soleus wall sit
Box step down
Weighted Toe walks
Banded foot strengthening exercises
3D calf exercise
Calf raise isometrics
Donkey kick calf raises