Aches and Sprains – The Most Common Ankle Injury

When it comes to exercise in sport, you’d be hard pressed to not have experienced the joy of a sprained angle. A sprain to the outside of the ankle (Lateral ankle sprains) are one of the most common injuries, accounting almost 40% of all sporting injuries! Lateral ankle sprains are also notorious for recurrence, with more than 60% of people having a repeat lateral ankle injury or chronic symptoms.

Lateral ankle sprains are caused by rapid combined pointing and rolling inwards causing the outside structures to overstretch and sprain/tear. Lucky for you, with good rehabilitation and management, these injuries can recover very well.

Unfortunately lateral ankle injuries are notorious for reoccurring and can often lead to long term instability or even chronic symptoms. There are various factors that can make someone more at risk for a repeat ankle injury such as:

• Previous ankle sprain
• Feeling of instability
• Increased weight or height
• Impaired balance
• People involved in activities that require frequent running, jumping and cutting motions
• Foot/ankle mal-alignment

Lots of research shows that instability and joint laxity may still be present even at 6 months after injury! Taking this into consideration, a structured long term rehabilitation program incorporating balance and strengthening exercises is vital to ensuring positive outcomes.

Taping or the use of an external brace for additional support may also be helpful in reducing the likelihood of re-injury during the initial 6-month period. However the effectiveness of external supports on inversion injuries is often debated.

Another key component to consider when thinking about recurrent ankle injuries is the impact on the surrounding joints. It is not uncommon for ankle injuries to lead to hip/ knee pain or joint instability as-well.

If you have had multiple ankle injuries, or if you want to prevent a recurrence, come in to Medwest Health Care in Melbourne’s west for an appointment so we can assess and treat your ankle and give you a thorough and effective exercise program!