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Management of Ankle Sprains

Sprains to the lateral ligaments of the ankle are the most common sporting injury and account for about 10 percent of all sporting injuries. Not surprisingly this has been well researched and there are well over 100 published papers on preventing ankle injuries.

Over 95 % of these sprains occur to the lateral ligaments of the ankle and are caused by twisting the foot in or inverting the foot. These sprains range from a mild grade one (microscopic damage) to amore severe grade 3 (full rupture) and with more serious grades can even result in damage to the joint or fracture.

ankle sprain

If you injure the ankle follow the following steps.

Follow the RICER rules

  • Rest – cease the sport and if the ankle is painful get onto crutches
  • Ice – 15-20 minutes every hour for the first 24 hours
  • Compression – use a compressive bandage or sock
  • Elevation – where practical elevate the ankle so it is above the knee
  • Referral to Physiotherapy – Don’t self diagnose, these injuries are not always simple and sometimes result in fractures or other significant injuries

In summary this research has shown that Physiotherapy rehabilitation which focuses on a short period of rest and protection of the injured ankle followed by a professionally designed rehabilitation program is

  1. By far the treatment of choice and will promote faster and better recovery than either surgery or no rehabilitation
  2. Effective at preventing further injury

A typical rehabilitation will take between 2-6 weeks depending on the severity of the injury.

Returning to play may require either bracing or taping. If there are correctly prescribed or applied they will help reduce the chances of a re-injury without affecting performance.

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