What you may have felt:
- Immediate pain on the outside of your ankle.
- Unable to walk on it due to pain.
- Noises – crack/pop/snap.
- You can roll your ankle both inwards and outwards. However outwards is the most common.
What should you initially do?
You should perform the PRICER acronym:
- Protect: Avoid further injury by using crutches if available.
- Rest: Avoid exercise until cleared by your Physiotherapist.
- Ice: Every hour place an ice pack on the sore area for 20 minutes.
- Compression: Use Tubigrip, skins or another compression garment around your ankle to decrease swelling.
- Elevation: When resting keep your ankle above your heart level to decrease swelling.
- Referral; to your Physiotherapist and/or Sports Medicine Doctor. Check with your local LifeCare clinic if a doctor’s referral is needed before your appointment.
You should avoid:
What type of treatment is best?
- See your Physiotherapist and/or Sports Medicine Doctor.
- They will diagnose the injury and provide the best local treatment, and/or medication.
- Commonly the ankle will be bandaged or strapped to protect from further damage and help reduce the swelling.
- Some injuries require a “Moon Boot” and possibly crutches.
- Early mobilisations from the Physiotherapist assist healing and regaining control of the ankle movements.
Then what type of rehabilitation is best? :
Once the pain and swelling has decreased, an exercise program will be given to you by your Physiotherapist. It will include:
- Balance exercises – improve co-ordination of ankle muscles.
- Strength exercise – improve the ankles ability to withstand forceful movements.
- Sport based exercises (hopping, zig-zag running) – to prepare you for sport.
How long until you can return to sport?
The severity of your symptoms determines how long you have off sport, however generally:
- Grade 1: 1-3 weeks
- Grade 2: 4-6 weeks
- Grade 3: 6-12 weeks
- Grade 4: Surgery – More than 6 months.
Recurrent Ankle sprains are very common, and a significant number of these can be prevented with early treatment and a properly designed exercise program.
Strapping is usually an essential part of returning to sport safely, and is regularly required for up to 6 months after the initial injury.
For further information see your local LifeCare Practitioner.
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