In a sprained ankle, the most common damage is sustained at the anterior
talo-fibula ligament. (See figure) If the sprain is severe, there might
also be damage to the calcaneo-fibula ligament (see figure). It is
located further back towards the heel. An accurate diagnosis of the
ankle sprain is necessary as there there may also be damage to tendons,
bone and other joint tissue in addition to the ligament damage. Severe
ankle sprains may be associated with a fracture. Thus,it is important to
get an accurate diagnosis of your ankle sprain.
What can you do?
Apply immediate first aid for ankle sprains - RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
R is for rest. Rest is necessary to reduce pain and prevent further damage. Crutches may be required.
I is for ICE. Apply ice and compression immediately following injury
for 15 minutes and repeat this every 4 hours. It can ease the pain and
C is for compression. Crepe bandaging is
recommended to reduce bleeding and swelling.. It is excellent for
providing support and compression.
E is for Elevation. It will
help in reducing bleeding and swelling when you allow fluids to flow
away from the site of injury by use of gravity.
It is important
to protect the injured ankle by taping or an ankle support. During the
rehabilitation phase, tape can also be used to protect the joint and
give proprioceptive feedback to the ankle without risking further
injury. With partial weight bearing, an ankle support or taping method
can protect the lateral ligaments (allowing them to rest) and at the
same time, ensures forwards and backwards motion is allowed keeping the
rest of the joint healthy.
How is the ankle sprain treated?
It is important to establish the diagnosis from the start. The doctor
will advise a different treatment plan if there is an associated
fracture or other factors.
A sports Medicine physician can
assess the injury to establish an accurate diagnosis. Anti-inflammatory
medication can be prescribed to help with pain and swelling.
Physiotherapist may prescribe a full ankle rehabilitation programme to
strengthen the joint and helps prevent future ankle sprains. Compression
devices or taping techniques can be used to reduce swelling and the use
of physiotherapy modalities can reduce the pain and inflammation as
well as promote healing.