An ankle sprain involves damage to the ankle ligaments, typically sustained during simple sudden traumatic incidents, such as rolling or twisting the ankle. The ligaments on the outside (lateral aspect) of the ankle are much more susceptible to injury than the inside (medial aspect), and can produce pain, swelling, bruising and a sense of instability.
Prompt assessment and management is essential in the first 24 to 48 hours, after using the RICER regime and a precautionary x-ray to rule out a fracture, if indicated.
Your osteopath can assist in the rehabilitation of an ankle sprain with:
- soft tissue treatment of the ligament scar tissue to promote optimal stability and range of motion
- active and passive mobility exercises to help restore normal range of motion to the foot and ankle complex
- balancing exercises to restrengthen the receptors housed in the ligament that provide stability and improve position sense (proprioception)
- organising and demonstrating use of braces or strapping products if required for more vigorous exercise.
It is also important to consider the various predisposing factors that may have caused the injury in the first place, which may include:
- poor foot/ankle mechanics, such as a stiff ankle joint, which will tend to make the ligaments work harder
- poor footwear
- joint restrictions and muscle tightness in the lumbo-pelvic region and/or lower limb
- a leg length discrepancy that may be overloading one particular ankle.
Remember, an osteopath applies a holistic approach to their diagnosis, treatment and management, which is well worth considering in the event of an ankle sprain.
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