The term “sprain” means that a ligament has been overstretched and damaged. The degree of damage can be anywhere from a mild stretch to a full tear to an avulsion fracture (the ligament pulls a small piece of bone off). In addition to the ligaments being injured, you can also damage the muscles in your foot or fracture a bone.
It is encouraged that you have a physiotherapists review EVERY ankle sprain, even if you consider it to be mild. Injuries to the ligaments/muscles/tendons/bones can lead to long term complications and risk of re-injury, if not addressed properly.
Physiotherapists will assess your range of motion, joint mobility, strength, function, balance, and proprioception of your ankle following an injury. Proprioception is awareness of where your body and joints are positioned in space. The ligaments and muscles in your foot/ankle communicate with your brain regarding proprioception. This information is crucial for maintaining balance, strength and control. Unfortunately many ankle sprains affect many of these areas and they don’t necessarily spontaneously recover or get better with time. Something else we see as physiotherapists is stiffness in joints following an ankle injury. As mentioned previously, we will evaluate joint mobility as part of the assessment. It is imperative that all the bones in your foot are moving properly to maximize function. Joints that are stiff or immobile, can translate forces elsewhere which in turn can cause issues in other areas, such as your knee.
Once a physiotherapist has carried out the assessment, they will design a treatment plan tailored to your objective findings and personal goals. Treatment often includes: biomechanical care, soft tissue release, education and a home exercise program.
So next time you think “it’s just an ankle sprain” remember that your foot is made up of 28 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. All of these structures must be doing their jobs to ensure optimal movement of your foot. So whether you have a new, recurring or old ankle injury, we are here to help at Donald Physiotherapy. Contact us to book your next appointment!!