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Sprained Ankle




Symptoms Checklist:

  • Your pain came on suddenly
  • It happened when you “went over” on your ankle
  • The ankle feels hot and swollen
  • There is severe pain in the ankle
  • You have pain up along the leg

Sprained Ankle

Your ankle joint is made up of three bones held together by two main ligaments, one on either side.  Since the inside (near the other ankle) ligament is the strongest, most strains are caused when the ankle joint bends outward.  In bending, the ligaments on the outside are over-stretched and as it is made up of taut bands, some (or all) of these may tear, depending on the severity of the twist.  In doing this, you may also break the bone in you leg.  It is always wise to have an x-ray after a severe sprain. 

Physical Therapy/Osteopathy and Strained Ankle

Sprained ankles tend to swell up a lot.  It is made worse by the fact that usually small blood vessels are broken causing internal bleeding and gravity keeps all the fluid near the ankle.  You should apply cold to the ankle as soon as you can and keep the ankle raised on a soft cushion to allow the swelling to drain away.  Plaster cast is seldom used for ankle injuries as it is felt that the more you move your ankle after injury, the quicker it will heal.  Your Therapist will show you exercises to maintain movement in the joint without aggravating the problem.  The Therapist will then set to work, first to reduce swelling and increase circulation in the joint.  Then to restore the flexibility to the ankle by taking it through it’s range of movement.  As the soreness eases, they will introduce more vigorous exercise.  You will also be shown exercises you can do, that will help restore the muscles to their correct balance.  The Therapist will work, first to realign the fibres of the scar tissue and then ensure that your exercise regime is appropriate to your stage of the recovery process. A healthy ligament sends important information to the brain regarding the location of the joint.  This happens in a similar way to your knowing at all times where your finger is – though your eyes may be closed.  Once the ligament is severed this information is no longer being sent.  This process of “proprioception” can be encouraged through specific exercises to achieve a complete repair.  Given the proper treatment, the damaged ligament and bone can return to normal.  Without this you may re-injure easily and be prone to arthritis in the joint as you get older.  

Tags: Ankle, Tendons, Muscles, Sports Injuries, Sprained Ankle, Tendinitis

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