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I've rolled my ankle... again.

Ankle sprains are reported to be one of the most common injuries for athletes, accounting for up to 20% of all sports related injuries. However, it is not just the sporting population that are impacted.

If you have ever taken a tumble whilst hiking or strolling down the street there is a good chance you have said or thought ‘I have just rolled my ankle’.

Let’s explore what ‘rolling the ankle’ means and what we should do about it.

Around our ankle (and all across our body) ligaments act to stabilise our joints and prevent excessive movement (that can lead to injury). When we experience an abrupt movement that exceeds the capacity of our ligaments to protect our joints this can lead to an ankle sprain.

Approximately 95% of ankle sprain injuries occur on the outside (lateral). This normally occurs when our ankle rolls outward whilst the foot turns inwards.

What are some of the signs and symptoms?

  • Inflammation, swelling and often some funky bruising (inside and/or outside of ankle)

  • Pain that can vary from mild to severe (and not always an accurate indicator of the amount of damage!)

  • Instability or giving way sensation around the ankle

  • Inability to put weight through the ankle

  • Decreased movement through the ankle

  • Changes in walking patterns

How bad is it?

The physios at Marna will complete a thorough examination to diagnose the severity of the ankle sprain. A grading system is used to classify the amount of tear in the ligament to help guide treatment (ranging from grade 1-3. Furthermore, the examination will aim to rule out any other structures in the ankle (such as a fracture in the bone) that may warrant imaging.

What can I do about it?

Following an assessment, the best thing you can do is give it some PEACE and LOVE.

Sorry what?

Yep PEACE and LOVE, the modern version of RICE (even the guy who came up with RICE agrees it is now outdated).

These two acronyms describe the most up to date evidence for rehabilitation immediately after injury (PEACE) and then to subsequent management (LOVE).

This infographic breaks it down further:

Your physiotherapist will use a variety of treatment strategies with you to optimise your healing and return to activity/sport. Whilst the pain associated with an ankle sprain can dissipate quite quickly, the rehabilitation importance cannot be understated. Between 70-80% of individuals who sprain their ankles will go on to re-sprain it.

This can be reduced with appropriate exercises which aim to improve the strength and stability of our ankle.

An incredibly important and often missed element of rehabilitation is the graduated return to sport and activity. Our bodies are wonderful at adapting to new activities but we must do so in a progressive manner. After relative rest or reducing the amount of activity we do after injury it makes it even more important that we gradually return to our desired sport or hobby.

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