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Ankle Sprain

Most ankle sprains involve injuries to the three ligaments on the outside of your ankle. Ligaments are tough bands of tissue that stabilize joints and help prevent excessive movement.
An ankle sprain occurs when you roll, twist or turn your ankle in an awkward way. This can stretch or tear the ligaments that help hold your ankle bones together. It is easy to sprain your ankle playing sport or walking on uneven ground. Wearing inadequate footwear can increase your chance of spraining your ankle.

There are varying degrees of ankle sprain from mild (ligaments stretched) to severe (ligaments ruptured) and the treatment varies according to the grade of severity. Symptoms can vary from mild bruising and swelling for a couple of days to severe bruising and swelling over the foot and up the lower leg. Our practitioners and doctors are skilled in the assessment and diagnosis of ankle sprain. They will do a full examination involving palpation of the joint and surrounding areas and they will move your foot in certain directions to see what causes the pain. If you need further investigation, they will send you for an X ray or MRI.
Many ankle sprains can be treated initially with self-care using the RICE method.
Avoid any activity causing pain or discomfort.
Use an ice pack for 10-15 minutes at a time and repeat every two to three hours while you’re awake. Do not use ice if you suffer from a vascular condition and have poor circulation.
Use an elastic bandage to compress the ankle until the swelling stops. Do not wrap too tightly. Begin wrapping at the end farthest from your heart.
To reduce swelling, elevate your ankle above the level of your heart, especially at night.
You can take over the counter painkillers and use a support such as a stick or crutches for a few days.
Once the discomfort has eased, we suggest you book in to see one of our physiotherapists for exercises to strengthen your ankle and prevent re occurrence. If you start to improve after a few days it is important to try not to limp when you walk as this causes muscle imbalances and may result in more problems.
If you have very severe swelling and/or bruising you can still follow the RICE routine. However, for an accurate diagnosis in case you have ruptured ligaments or broken a bone without realising, we suggest you visit one of our physios or MSK/Sport & Exercise Medicine doctors for a full assessment and possibly an X ray or MRI. You may need physiotherapy and rehabilitation exercises to regain full function and to prevent reoccurrence.
This will vary according to the severity of the injury. A mild ankle sprain can recover in a couple of weeks, while a very severe ankle sprain may take several months. Having an accurate diagnosis and guidance during your rehabilitation will speed up the recovery enormously. 

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