A twisted or sprained ankle injury occurs when the ankle joint is forced beyond its normal range of movement through a twist, roll or awkward turn. The cobbles of the barbican, uneven pavements, sandy and pebbly beaches all present opportunities for ankle problems. The ankle joint is made up of the tibia, fibular and talus bones that are held in place through congruent bone surfaces covered in cartilage supported by strong fibrous ligaments, further supported by muscles and tendons.
The combination of structures allow movement in certain directions and restricts movement in others to provide stability allowing us to stand, walk, run, hop etc. When we roll or turn the ankle we stretch the ligaments and muscle tendons which if taken beyond their threshold may tear the tissue causing pain and swelling. The more ligament and muscle tissue torn the more pain, swelling and bruising will occur.
Most ankle sprains involve the ligaments on the outer aspect of the ankle (inversion injury). A sprain on the inner aspect of the ankle is called and eversion injury. Patients are able to recall the exact moment the injury occurred as ankle sprains involve trauma through life or sporting activities where the ankle is forced into a position where the ligaments, capsule and tendons are stretched and torn. Patients often report a popping sensation or sound at the time of injury.
The resulting outcome is immediate:-
- Pain, especially when trying to bear weight through the affected foot
- Tenderness around the ankle
- Swelling into the ankle and foot
- Bruising – often through the whole foot looking very impressive
- Reduced movement at the ankle
- Feeling and sensation of instability
The usual causes of a sprained ankle are:-
- Falling or tripping over, especially on uneven surfaces or by their dogs!
- Footwear and alcohol consumption
- Landing awkwardly after jumping or pivoting
- Forced inversion/eversion injury through contact sports, slipping on stairs
Sports and uneven surfaces are the prime risks for turning your ankle as well as a prior ankle sprain and poor physical health. Sprains may feel very painful and be very bruised and swollen yet rarely require imaging. Reducing the weight going through the ankle by utilising elbow crutches initially and implanting the POLICE soft tissue injury protocol will allow the body to heal. Ankle sprains may take 3 – 6 months to settle down and will require consistent and diligent rehabilitation in order to reduce the risk of further sprains, restore stability and strength.
Fay Pedler clinicians are expertly placed to treat ankle sprains from initial presentation through to returning to sporting hobby or pain free walking or dancing. Further information can be found here:- https://www.faypedlerclinic.co.uk/foot-ankle-pain
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