Ankle injuries are one of the most common we see in sports across Australia.
From running, jumping and pivoting in sports such as basketball and netball, to the quick changes of direction and kicking in sports such as soccer and football, your ankle is vital to your performance and everyday mobility.
When your ankle is sprained, ligament structures are often torn and damaged during the injury. According to Sports Medicine Australia, 80% of ankle sprains occur on the lateral side of the ankle, when the foot twists inward, affecting the outer ligaments. As a result, long term rehabilitation is key to restoring balance and strength, while also avoiding the vicious cycle of recurrent sprains.
48 hours after injury
The first 48 hours after a soft tissue ankle injury plays a key role in your long-term recovery. The first step is to apply the RICE protocol of Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevate. These steps aim to reduce the immediate swelling and bruising of the ankle. It’s essential to recognise the injury, as brushing it off and continuing to play can lead to long-term damage. According to research, 30% of non-treated ankle injuries will result in chronic instability within a 12-month period. Therefore, taking proactive steps to your sprained ankle is the best move.
3 to 6 weeks of rehabilitation
When you visit Progressive Sports and Spinal Physiotherapy, your physiotherapist will learn about your history and will take you through a thorough assessment to determine the degree of severity and establish your path to rehabilitation. During the initial rehabilitation process, we use hands-on physiotherapy and strap your foot to support the ankle, allowing the ligaments and tissues to heal.
Through massaging the muscles, we gradually promote flexibility and motion in the surrounding ligaments. In our Rehabilitation Gym, we use targeted exercises and training to strengthen your ankle and prepare you for your safe return to sport.
Ongoing strengthening and prevention
To help avoid the cycle of recurrent ankle sprains, ongoing treatment and prevention are vital. When returning to the sport you love, ensure that you are warming up and stretching to encourage joint mobility and flexibility, while also preparing the muscles for exercise. Ensure you have the correct protective equipment, such as strapping tape to secure the ankle and minimise joint movement during play. Wearing the right shoe that suits your gait and activity will also support your ankle.
At Progressive Physio, we care about your health and rehabilitation, that’s why we take the steps to ensure your ankle recovery is managed and that your return to sport is safe. If you or a family member has recently sprained their ankle, book an appointment with our team.