Lateral ankle sprain

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INJURY TITLE

 

Lateral ankle sprain

 

INJURY OVERVIEW

 

Very common injury in all sports and all walks of life.  Can happen when jumping and landing another players foot, for example.  It usually involves some degree of damage to one or more ligaments on the outside of the ankle.  The most common ligament to get injured is called the anterior (front) talofibular ligament ATFL (show this).

 

INJURY IN-DEPTH INFORMATION

The most common way to injure yourself this way is with the movements of plantar flexion and inversion (show this).  This is because the ATFL is under the most strain in this position (as opposed to the other ligaments).  Also, this ligament is relatively weaker, and so is vulnerable to injury.  Depending on the severity of the injury, you may hear a ‘pop, or ‘crack’.  This usually means very little and indeed some people continue with their activity despite the injury.

 

There is a broad injury spectrum here.  Sometimes swelling will come on quickly but not always (clinically some patients report delayed swelling because the initial injury happens hours earlier and actually didn’t register with them as an actual injury), and swelling does not necessarily correlate with the degree of damage.

 

The difficulty with this injury is that ligaments play a fundamental role in balance and proprioception.  Once injured, they cannot perform as well as they could previously.  Rehabilitation will aim to improve the muscular coordination around the joint in both non weight bearing and wring bearing positions.  Unfortunately, depending on the degree of damage, that joint may always be prone to injuries of this kind in the future.

 

The severity of damage to the ligament will vary from person to person.  This means that someone could have a very simple sprain whilst another person could suffer a more complex and severe injury with seemingly the same mechanism of injury.

 

 

COMMON SIGNS & SYMPTOMS

Swelling, bruising, unable to walk or weight bear, loss of movement in the ankle joint.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW IS IT ASSESSED

 

XRay to clear any fractures.

Clinical examination

 

 

 

GENERAL TREATMENT

Initial swelling management – PRICE

Manual therapy if needed

Taping

Balance and strengthening exercises.

 

 

 

Exercise Videos: i.e.

Rotator cuff strengthening

Pec stretch

etc

 

WHICH HEALTH PROFESSIONAL TO CONSULT

PHYSIO     X MEDIC     X PODIATRY     X

 

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