by Elena Kwok, Physiotherapist Chances are if you’ve ever played sport, run or taken a tumble, you’ve sprained your ankle. It is one of the most common injuries that can occur in everyday life or with sporting activities. (Research suggests that ankle sprains account for 15-30% of all sporting injuries). However, it is also highly associated with women in high-heeled shoes. Ligaments help stabilise joints and prevent excessive movement. A sprain occurs when the joint is twisted, rolled or turns past its normal motions. Ankle sprains can occur when the foot lands on uneven ground, is planted awkwardly or an unusual amount of force is applied to the joint. With these actions the ligaments supporting the ankle can become severely over-stretched and damaged. This leads to inflammation, swelling and bruising around the affected joint. What can our physiotherapists do for you? Our trained physiotherapists will take a thorough subjective and objective examination from you, which will usually be sufficient enough to diagnose a sprained ankle. There are different severities of sprains and it is important to rule out the possibility of a fracture. Diagnosing the severity of the ankle sprain is also important, as it will give a time frame of when you can return to sport or normal activity. Grade 1: stretching of the ligament, possibly with minor tearing – 2-4weeks Grade 2: up to 90%of the ligament fibers are torn, increased looseness (laxity) – 6-8weeks Grade 3: complete rupture of the ligament – possible surgery may be required, 12weeks – 6months Each individual will recover at different rates. Your physiotherapist will create a treatment plan tailored to you, ensuring you return to sport/activities as soon as possible. Without proper treatment for an ankle sprain there can be a long-term consequences such as instability, decreased range of motion and pain. Studies have shown that there is an increased likelihood of re-spraining an ankle in those who have had a previous sprain. This is usually due to inadequate rehabilitation. Appropriate physiotherapy interventions and rehabilitation is vital to help reduce pain, increased range of motion as well as minimising the risk of future recurrent sprains. Call us today if you’ve sprained your ankle and our dedicated physiotherapists will help you get back on track sooner.