Ankle sprains are one of the most commonly occurring sporting injuries. A sprain is defined as a tearing of the ligaments that connect bone to bone and help stabilize the joint.
Acute ankle sprains result from a force being applied to the ankle joint which causes excessive range of movement at the joint. Players are immediately aware of the condition and may hear an audible ‘snap’ or ‘pop’, due to the tearing or stretching of the ligaments.
Risk factors include:
- Previous or existing ankle injury especially if poorly rehabilitated (biggest risk factor).
- Lack of strength and stability related to the ankle.
- Lack of, or extreme flexibility, in the ankle joint.
- Poor balance.
- Sudden change in direction (acceleration or deceleration).
- Increasing age of player
Sprains are graded on a scale of 1 to 3 (mild, moderate, and severe), depending on the degree of tearing to the ligaments and will show the following symptoms in varying degrees.
- Ability to weight bear
- Reduced range of motion
- Poor balance
The immediate treatment of any soft tissue injury consists of the RICER protocol – rest, ice, compression, elevation and referral. RICE protocol should be followed for 48–72 hours.
It is also important to see your health care professional as soon as possible to we can help restore range of motion to the joint and help you return to play sooner rather then later. Sprains left untreated can sometimes lead to further damage in the future and compensatory dysfunctions throughout the rest of your body.
For more information consult your Osteopath or visit Sports Medicine Australia at http://sma.org.au/resources-advice/injury-fact-sheets/ankle-injury