What are lateral ankle injuries and can a physio help?
Also known as sprains or rolled ankles, lateral ankle injuries are fairly common in the population, particularly among people who play sports. Although you don’t need to play sports to need ankle physio because anyone can roll their ankle just by stepping off a kerb or wearing high heels.
So what are ankle injuries, what are the symptoms and do you need physio for a sprained ankle?
What are lateral ankle injuries?
There are three ankle bones (talus, tibia and fibula) that are held together by ligaments that help to stabilise the ankle joint. It’s one of these ligaments (the ATFL or anterior talofibular ligament) that’s usually the problem in rolled ankles. This ligament can be overstretched or torn when you run, jump or make sudden changes in direction, causing the ankle to roll outwards and the ligament to be overstretched. This is called a lateral ankle injury.
What are the symptoms?
The first symptom of sprains or rolled ankles is swelling which usually happens immediately, followed by pain, particularly when you put any weight on the ankle. A mild or grade 1 sprain has minimal swelling and pain. A moderate or grade 2 sprain has more swelling and pain when weight-bearing, whilst a severe or grade 3 injury involves rupture of the ATFL, resulting in severe swelling and too much pain to walk at all.
Do you need physiotherapy for ankle sprains?
It’s a good idea to consider physiotherapy for ankle sprains because we can speed up your recovery. We do this by reducing your pain, improving your mobility, strengthening the surrounding muscles and preventing the injury from happening again. However, as a form of first aid, you should immediately elevate your ankle and use ice to reduce the swelling. We can tape your ankle to add more stability to the joint while you recover.
Do you need physio for a sprained ankle?
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