Common Injury – Sprained ankles

Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries we see as physios.

With the start of winter approaching, we see netballers, basketballs, soccer players and footballers all coming in with ankle injuries. The uneven grass tracks and fields and agility involved in these sports provide the perfect conditions for a common ankle sprain.

The most commonly ligaments damaged in sprained ankles are the ones on the outside of the ankle.

What Happens Next?

Initially, you will get swelling to the area, bruising, limitation in movement and pain with walking. The degree of injury can range from mild to severe.

Treatment will be similar regardless of the severity of sprain. A more severe injury will take longer to heal and return to sport will be slower.

With the acute injury (the first 2-3 days) it is important to ice top help with pain, compression and elevate will help limit swelling, and limit weight bearing. It is essential to walk as normally as possible. A boot is not recommended if there is no fracture; Even a small avulsion fracture can be treated the same as a more significant ankle sprain.

When Can I get Back to Sport?

Knowing which of these ligaments has been injured helps us determine the severity of the sprain, and how long it will likely take to get back in the game:

  • Grade I injuries typically involve just the Anterior Talofibular ligament, & often take 1-2 weeks to recover
  • Grade II injuries involve both the Anterior Talofibular ligament and Calcaneofibular ligaments, & can take between 4-6 weeks to fully recover
  • While Grade III injuries typically involve a bit of everything, and can take up to 12 weeks to rehabilitate. If there is an associated tendon rupture of the muscles on the outside of your ankle you will require a surgical consult. In this situation, surgery may or may not be needed.