It’s Winter which means that sports such as football, soccer, basketball, and netball just to name a few, are back in full swing. These sports all involve running at high speed, jumping and change of direction. These are all ways that a person can sprain their ankle. Ankle sprains are very common sporting injuries and something we see a lot of here at Watsonia Physiotherapy. 

Ankle sprains often occur when a player ‘rolls their ankle’ causing immediate pain to the outside of the ankle. Ankle sprains can vary in severity and can cause damage to the bones, ligaments, and muscle tendons around the ankle.

What to do if you sprain your ankle?

Ankle sprains can be very painful, so it is best to follow the RICER protocol. 

R – Rest: it is important to rest your ankle immediately after injury as continuing to weight-bear and play sport on it could potentially worsen any injury sustained

I – Ice: ice can be very useful to both numb the pain and manage any swelling that is coming up. It is best to wrap the ice in a towel or tea towel to avoid the ice irritating or burning the skin. Ice should be placed on the ankle for 20 minutes at a time every 2 hours

C – Compression: Compression can also help to reduce swelling in the ankle, wearing a compression bandage in the days immediately after an ankle sprain is a good idea

E – Elevation: When possible, elevating the foot ankle above the level of the body is useful as it reduces blood flow to the ankle which in turn will decrease any swelling that is developing

R – Referral: It is important that if the pain remains the day after the injury or if you are concerned at all that you consult a physiotherapist who will be able to guide you on the next steps of your recovery

What can you expect from consulting a physiotherapist regarding your ankle sprain?

Your physiotherapist will be able to advise you firstly whether you need to get an X-ray on your ankle to rule out any fractures. Following that, your physiotherapist will be able to explain to you the likely nature of your injury and what structures you have damaged. You will be guided on the best management for your ankle ongoing, and the steps you need to take to return to your sport or full functional capacity. 

The session will consist of a full assessment of your ankle to determine its functional capacity, followed by treatment where your physio will likely do some hands-on work with your ankle, provide you with some exercises to help increase the movement and strength in the ankle as well as provide information about how to manage the ankle at home. Your physiotherapist will also be able to guide you in your return to sport as well.

All our physiotherapists can treat ankle sprains and would be happy to guide you on your recovery!