What is an ankle Sprain?
An ankle sprain is a strain on the inside or outside ankle ligaments. The most common type of ankle sprains occur on the outside of the foot (lateral side). This is called an inversion ankle sprain which may involve the Anterior Talofibular Ligament, Calcaneofibular and Posterior Talofibular ligament. A strain on the inside ankle ligaments (medial side) can occur but are uncommon.
Ankle sprains occur when the foot rolls underneath the ankle or leg in a twisting motion. It commonly happens when the foot is moving at a fast pace when playing sports or when running. The foot will over rotate in an inversion or eversion motion, thus causing an overstretching of the ligaments. An ankle sprain will cause immediate pain and may swell and bruise. If the sprain is severe, you may not be able to put any weight onto the foot. If you cannot take 4 consecutive steps, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Most activities which involve jumping or running will put you at higher risk for ankle sprain injuries. Because an ankle sprain occurs when the foot twists and goes underneath the leg, any surface where the ground is uneven will increase the chance of you spraining your ankle. Sports which involve a lot of jumping such as basketball and volleyball will put you at a higher risk of injuring your ankle. Shoes that have more support around the ankle will decrease your chance of you straining your medial and lateral ankle ligaments.
If you have had a severe ankle sprain previously, you are at an increased risk of getting another sprain. A severe ankle sprain will cause a muscle imbalance in your foot. Weak peroneal longus and peroneal brevis muscles can attribute to reoccurring ankle sprains.
Your foot type will also determine how often ankle sprains occur. Those who have a supinated gait (commonly seen in high arched foot) or uncompensated rearfoot varus foot type will tend to roll their ankle more often due to the angle of the heel in relation to the leg when standing.
We suggest for the first 24-48 hours after the initial strain to rest the ankle and ice for 10 minutes every hour. Wrapping the ankle will help reduce swelling. Elevating the leg on a pillow when sitting will also help decrease the amount of inflammation.
What we will do
If you suffer from an ankle sprain, we recommend that you come in to be assessed as soon as possible for a fast recovery! After the assessment of your injury, topical creams may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. Stretching exercise will be given to strengthen the peroneal muscles and ankle ligaments.
A biomechanical assessment will be performed to see if your foot type is predisposed to ankle sprains. With the use of lateral flanges in custom orthotics, we can prevent future ankle sprains by giving your foot a proprioceptive response.
Depending on the severity of the sprain, you can return to sports/activity as soon as 1-2 weeks but if it is a severe strain, it could take up to 6-8 weeks for you to return to activity.
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