Ankle sprains can happen easily- whether it be landing awkwardly from a jump, stepping on to an uneven surface, or stepping on someone elses foot. The severity of injury can also vary greatly, from a mild sprain to a complete ligament rupture or even fracture.
Regardless of the severity of injury, initial management (first 48 hours) is crucial to recovery. This includes RICE (Rest, ice, compression and elevation). Depending on severity, crutches, taping or even a camboot may be required for mobility.
Below are some common questions our physiotherapists get asked following an ankle injury;
How soon after injury should I see a physio?
A physiotherapist will be able to assess your injury and determine to what severity, or grade of injury you have. Referral for an Xray, CT or MRI may be required in some cases. It’s therefore best to see a physio as soon as possible, to ensure your recovery is managed properly from the outset.
Should I walk on a sprained ankle?
Whilst it is usually ok to weight bear following an ankle sprain (and in-fact it often aids recovery), in some cases a short period of protected weight bearing on crutches may be required. For a more severe sprain or complex injury, a camboot may be required to protect the ankle further when walking. It is important to see a physiotherapist to rule out fracture or other more serious injury to determine your weight-bearing status.
What will recovery involve?
Depending on the severity of injury, management will vary. Most ankle sprains recover well with a period of physiotherapy and exercises. For a more severe injury, you may be placed in a camboot or taping for a period of time, to allow healing. A typical ankle sprain will require physiotherapy to assist in restoring range of motion of the ankle, ligamentous stability, strength and balance.
The length of recovery varies, whereby a mild ankle sprain may only require 1-2 weeks off sport and activity, with a more severe sprain often taking 6-12 weeks or longer. Your physiotherapist will be able to assess the severity of injury at your initial appointment, and guide you as to timeframes for return to activity.
What if I don’t have physio after an ankle sprain?
Without a thorough assessment and treatment in the early stages, an injured ankle may not recover as well. Chronic stiffness and pain can occur, and the ankle often has less stability, making it susceptible to recurrent ankle sprains. This can make it difficult returning to everyday activity and sport. If recurrent sprains occur, your ankle becomes less stable and ankle reconstructive surgery may be required down the track.
Will my ankle ever be the same again?
If you complete a through rehabilitation to build strength and stability, the majority of people will return to their usual activities shortly after an ankle sprain. Physiotherapy will assist in getting your ankle stronger, normalise mobility and provide you with an appropriate exercise program that will assist in preventing future injury. Taping or bracing may be advised for sport to prevent recurrence in some situations.
Whether you’ve recently sprained your ankle, are suffering from recurrent sprains or have an old ankle injury, our physiotherapists at Warburton Physiotherapy can help. To make an appointment click here