You twisted your ankle. It hurts a little, but the ice has helped it feel better. You limp for a few days and then it feels fine. Whether this is your first ankle sprain or the fifth, I am going to tell you why you should get it checked by your physiotherapist.
What happens when you sprain your ankle?
When we sprain our ankles, we overstretch the ligaments – if you do it bad enough you will tear some or all of the ligament/s. Enough force could also mean that you overstretch more than one ligament. Now, you can rehabilitate an overstretched, partially torn or even complete tears. The ligaments have receptors that tell your brain where your foot is in space. Once they have been stretched, the receptors don’t work as well and the timing of your muscles to help with balance is slower. This reduced timing may come back on it’s own if your lucky, however if it doesn’t, you increase your risk of re-injuring the same ankle… or worse, it could make you overload another area.
To find out more about Ankle Sprain Treatment at Vitalis Physiotherapy
Ankle Sprain – Cases
In the last 6 months alone, I have had patients who had ankle sprains years before they came to see me for now completely different issues. Lets look at 3 of them:
First, a relatively fit 70 year old lady who had started having falls. Her balance on the affected ankle was way below that on the other side. One session of releasing and loading her bad ankle had her balance back to equal the other side.
Second, a very fit male in his mid 20’s, who regularly went to the gym and started having low back pain with dead lifting. The previous ankle sprain had reduced the ankle’s range of motion, which in turn changed how he could get down to pick the bar up – that change was overloading his lumbar spine with the lift. First we had to settle down the lumbar spine, then improve the range of motion in the ankle, then gradually build the load back up so that both the ankle and the lumbar spine were able to cope with the load of lifting at the gym.
Third, a mum in her 40’s started getting medial knee pain with prolonged walking. Her previous ankle sprain in her teens had lead to pronation and overload to the medial knee. Correcting the load around the ankle reduced the load on the medial knee and resolved her pain.
What to check after injury?
Single leg stance 30sec
- Stand on one leg with putting your foot down or touching something for balance for 30sec
- Does Left = Right?
Only a small difference? Then try with your eyes closed? Please only do eyes closed if eyes open was similar.
- Does Left = Right?
Knee to Wall – aiming for >10cm and Left = Right
- Stand near a wall. Using a ruler, measure how far you can have you toe from the wall, make your knee touch the wall and keep the heel on the floor
- Also ensure that your hips are parallel to the wall.
If any of the above is not even, then you should see a physiotherapist to get it treated now before you re-injure the same ankle or overload another area because of the imbalance.
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References: Malliaropoulos, Crate, G., Meke, M., Korakakis, V., Nauck, T., Lohrer, H., & Padhiar, N. (2016). Success and Recurrence Rate after Radial Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy for Plantar Fasciopathy: A Retrospective Study. BioMed Research International, 2016, 9415827–9415828.