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ankle-sprains

Ankle sprains, often referred to as “twisted ankles” or “rolled ankles,” are among the most common injuries affecting the ligaments of the ankle. This condition typically occurs when the ankle is forced into an unnatural position, leading to damage of the ligaments that support the joint1. Activities involving sudden changes in direction, such as basketball and tennis, increase the risk of ankle sprains. However, sprains can also occur during routine daily activities, such as stepping off a curb or slipping on uneven surfaces.

The most prevalent type of ankle sprain is known as an “inversion” or “lateral” ankle sprain2, where the foot is twisted inward excessively, impacting the outer aspect of the foot.

 

Initial Management and Rehabilitation Exercises:

Your physiotherapist will play a key role in guiding you through a structured rehabilitation program aimed at restoring function and preventing further injury. Initially, proper compression of the sprained ankle with a supportive wrap can help reduce initial inflammation and provide stability.

Rehabilitation exercises focus on improving range of motion in the ankle joint and strengthening the muscles surrounding the ankle to enhance stability and protect against future damage. These exercises may include:

  • Range of Motion Exercises: ankle circles, dorsiflexion (moving the foot upwards), plantar flexion (pointing downwards), and lateral movements help restore flexibility and mobility in the ankle joint.
  • Strength Training: specific exercises targeting the muscles of the ankle, such as calf raises, ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion exercises, and resistance band exercises, help strengthen the muscles and improve overall stability.
  • Balance Training: balance and proprioceptive exercises, which involve activities like standing on one leg, using a wobble board, or performing balance drills, are essential for enhancing proprioception and improving balance and coordination3.
  • Modalities: to enhance the healing process, dry needling, acupuncture, ultrasound, ice, and other modalities are often recommended along with manual therapy and exercises provided.

 

Preventing Ankle Strains:

Ankle strains, which affect the muscles surrounding the ankle joint, can result from similar movements that cause ankle sprains. Treatment for ankle strains primarily focuses on strengthening the muscles to improve stability and reduce the risk of future strains.

 

References

  1. Melanson SW, Shuman VL. Acute Ankle Sprain. [Updated 2023 May 23]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459212/
  2. Cavazos, G. J., Harkless, L. B. (2021). The epidemiology, evaluation, and assessment of lateral ankle sprains in athletes. Journal of Sports Medicine and Therapy6, (8–17). https://10.29328/journal.jsmt.1001052.
  3. Hall, E. A., Chomistek, A. K., Kingma, J. J., & Docherty, C. L. (2018). Balance- and Strength-Training Protocols to Improve Chronic Ankle Instability Deficits, Part I: Assessing Clinical Outcome Measures. Journal of Athletic Training53(6), 568–577. https://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-385-16