The worst Christmas stocking - ankle injuries and the silly season

The beginning of Summer brings with it the Silly Season and the perfect recipe for ankle injuries: Christmas Parties + Alcohol+ High Heels= Sprain.

The words sprain, strain and tear are used interchangeably with ankle injuries. They all indicate damage to the soft tissues (ligaments) that surround your ankle joint. You can sprain either or both the inside (medial) or more commonly, the outside (lateral) ankle joint complex. This occurs when the foot rolls outward, putting the structures on the outside of your ankle under considerable stress. The potential for injury is clear, but the severity of injury can range greatly. A simple “rolled ankle” will result in pain for only a couple of days. On the other end of the scale, severe ankle sprains can result in significant ligament damage or even a broken bone. Pain, swelling and a considerable limp are commonplace post ankle sprain, regardless of the injury severity. For this reason, seeking early assessment with a health care professional is recommended.

Acute management of an ankle sprain is essential and effective. A good starting place is with the acronym “RICER”

Rest: Loading your ankle correctly is vital. Continue to walk on a fractured bone and you risk further damage, while immobilising a minor sprain risks delaying your rehabilitation. Diagnosis of your injury will help us guide you on optimal loading.

Ice: Applying ice to the painful and swollen area will help relieve your pain.

Compression: This will help reduce and limit swelling in the area.

Elevation: Positioning your injured ankle above your heart will reduce swelling by allowing gravity to assist venous drainage.

Referral: If ‘RICE’ has not resolved any of your resting symptoms or if you are unable to walk and/or stand on your ankle, seek medical treatment to assess the injury. Referrals are not necessary to see a private practice Physiotherapist, it would be wise to refer your injury to a health professional to decide the best course of management.

Initially your physiotherapist will aim to assess, diagnose and manage the early symptoms of an ankle sprain. Following this, rehabilitation is often required to facilitate recovery back to pre-injury function. It is likely that exercises will also be prescribed to help prevent future ankle complex sprains.

If you have sprained your ankle, please call and speak to a Physiotherapist at Lifecare Kingsway to see if we can assist you.