• Mike Paterson

Ankle Sprains- Part 1

Most of us will sprain our ankle at some stage in life, be it sports-related or simply tripping over in the garden. Sometimes you’ll ‘roll’ your ankle and be back to normal activities the next day, but more often it can persist and leave you wondering how to best manage it. Here we aim to outline what an ankle sprain is, when to seek medical attention, and how to return to normal daily activities.


What is an ankle sprain?


An ankle sprain refers to excessive stretching or tearing of soft tissue structures, typically ligaments, around your ankle. The vast majority of the time, this happens when you ‘roll’ or turn your ankle inward. This results in the ligaments on the outside of your ankle stretching excessively, sometimes resulting in a tear (see image below). After this has happened, local inflammation will occur and you can expect to experience swelling, redness and pain on the outside of your ankle. These are temporary changes which will settle in 7 to 14 days if managed correctly.




I think it’s serious - What if I’ve broken my ankle?


While it is rare on the spectrum of injuries, it is possible to have fractured your ankle following ‘rolling’ or twisting it excessively. There are some simple signs to look for which will help to determine whether or not you have fractured your ankle, these are listed below:


l Inability to bear weight on the injured ankle - try taking 3 to 4 steps.

l A large amount of swelling, redness or extreme pain.

l Painful or tender when applying pressure around the ‘malleoli’ - these are the bony parts on the outside of your ankle (see image with marked points below).




If you meet one or more of the above bullet-points 3 to 4 days after the injury, you should speak to your doctor or physiotherapist to have an x-ray arranged for you. The x-ray identify whether or not you have fractured your ankle.


Additionally, if you are over 65 or have osteoporosis, you should also consider an x-ray if your symptoms persist for more than a few days.


Written by Kevin Cassells- Physiotherapist


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