With winter sports well under way, people need to keep up their stretching, take care while they play, and remain vigilant about any soreness that occurs during their games. One of the most common injuries we see in the clinic are injuries to the ankle. Netballers, basketballers, and sports that involve a lot of jumping are particularly prone to ankle injuries.
The most common form of ankle injury is a sprained ankle. More commonly, is a sprain to the ligaments on the outside or lateral aspect of the ankle. When the ligaments on the side of the ankle become overstretched, torn or even ruptured, the ankle will swell, become very painful and be difficult to walk on.
Your walking pattern, balance, and the strength and mobility of your ankle are all affected when you injure your ankle. This will need careful rehabilitation to fully recover from the injury.
The first line of treatment involves elevation, compression and ice to help control the swelling. It is also helpful to do some very simple movements of the ankle such as making small circles with the foot to keep some movement and help the calf muscles work to reduce the swelling.
The next line of treatment within the first week of the injury should include the following:
1. Exercises to help the muscles around the ankle and the affected leg become stronger and regain their flexibility.
2. Taping or a brace to give support to the ankle. This also helps with balance because it sends signals back to the brain about the position of your foot and ankle. These signals are affected by an injury to the ankle.
3. Retraining your walking pattern so other body parts (such as your knees or back) don’t start to hurt because you are walking weirdly!
4. Balance retraining. This is one part of rehab that people will often be slack about once their ankle is feeling better. There is a high chance of re-spraining if this area is neglected! So make sure you stick at it and do your balance exercises.
Hope this helps,