Ankle Sprains - part II - Rehab and Return to Activity
This week our Sports Podiatrist Natasha continues with her masterclass on ankle sprains. If you haven't already please have a read of the initial blog to get up to speed!
Once a diagnosis has been made following an ankle sprain, treatment largely depends on the extent of the injury and the current symptoms. Initial treatment is aimed at reducing pain and swelling, which may include a period of immobilisation using a controlled ankle motion (CAM) boot, and/or crutches. Once symptoms are stable, and severe injuries such as fractures, cartilage injuries, or tears of ligaments have been treated appropriately, rehabilitation can commence.
Rehabilitation of ankle sprains is aimed at:
Restoring range of motion at the ankle joint
Strengthening the muscles that support the ankle structure
Improving balance and the ability of the ankle to main alignment on unstable surfaces
Strengthening the muscles of the entire lower limb, such as the gluteal muscles, quadriceps, and calf which may weaken following a period of immobilisation
Ankle sprain rehabilitation may involve some of the following exercises and activities:
Ankle range of motion exercises which aim to restore motion about specific directions of movement
Strengthening using a theraband with the completion of specific movements against resistance
Balance exercises with the use of a bosu ball or wobble board
Lower limb strength exercises such as single leg squatting, calf raises, and glute exercises which are tailored towards the activity the person is aiming to return to.
Returning to sport following an ankle sprain is a decision which requires careful assessment and planning. There are several criteria which may be used to assist in decision making, some of which include:
No associated pain at the foot and ankle
Range of motion and strength testing within 90% of the other ankle
Adequate postural stability at the ankle and lower limb
Achievement of functional tests such as hop tests, agility tests and landing stability tests
Returning to sport too early after a sprain may result in a flareup of the previous injury site, ongoing pain or instability, or a higher risk of sustaining another sprain. Podiatrists are trained in the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of ankle sprains and often work with physiotherapists and exercise physiologists in order to deliver the best possible treatment plan following a sprain.
To book in with our Sports podiatrist Natasha- click here.