How to avoid an ankle injury this winter

Ankle sprains are some of the most common injuries seen in the physio clinic!

This type of injury is typically due to a sudden trauma, twisting or turning over of the ankle, In most cases the ankle is rolled outwards, resulting in damage to theligaments on the outside of the ankle. Swelling or bruising may be present but not always in the more mild cases.

Ankle sprains are graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on severity and a physio will carry out a full diagnosis and ankle sprain assessment.

How long does it take to heal/how much sport will I miss?

An ankle sprain will heal variably, depending on the severity of the damage and if treatment is actively sought after.

A mild (Grade 1) ankle sprain can usually be resolved with 2 weeks of rest and physiotherapy treatment

If ignored, a mild sprain can become persistent and take >6weeks to rehabilitate! Also the likelihood of a re-injury in greatly increased!

The most common mistake that I see people do post an ankle injury is to cut their rehabilitation short, leading to an increase likelihood of re-injury and more time out of the game. The key factor that we as physio’s should emphasis is that after an ankle sprain, along with soft tissue injury, is the nerves that tell the brain how the ankle is functioning get stretched and the connection becomes unreliable. I think an appropriate analogy that most of us can relate too is Telstra, whilst the telecommunications lines are working well, there is no problems! But when a large storm comes through, these lines go down and we all suddenly lose communication with the outside world and have no way of rectifying it until the service guy comes. This is the same with the ankle! If we don’t do the appropriate rehab there is no way that these connections are going to resolve.

What should I do if I have rolled my ankle and what are my treatment options?

-Discontinue activity/sport to prevent further damage, seek assistance from physio!

-Apply the RICE principles (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) immediately

Physio treatment: This will often involve techniques to reduce swelling and pain, providing supportive taping and compression to protect your ankle and implementing a rehab program aimed at improving the strength and balance of your ankle to reduce the risk of re-injuring your ankle!

Studies have shown that without proper physio treatment re-injury rates can increase by as much as 40-70%.

A physio can help speed up your recovery after an injury by providing a thorough assessment of your injury, and implementing a rehab program to optimize your healing and prevent re-injury!

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