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Six Things you Need to know about an Ankle Injury

Six Things you Need to know about an Ankle Injury

Written by Stefan Giardini - Osteopath | 26th May 2023

Whether it be playing sport, taking the dog for a walk or simply walking to the shops, there is nothing more frustrating than rolling your ankle. Please read on if you are keen to learn more about these injuries and how to manage and prevent them…

1. How do they happen?

These nasty injuries are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries that happen to us when we awkwardly place our foot down during walking, running or stepping. The chance of injury increases during sport and physical activity. However, interestingly, the majority of people who sustain these injuries were not playing a sport. Life is a battlefield!

2. Different types of sprains

There are 3 different types of ankle sprains. These are:

  • Lateral sprain: the most common, occurs on the outside of the ankle when the foot rolls in on the pinkie toe
  • Medial sprain: least common, where the foot rolls onto the inside of the ankle; the big toe side
  • High/syndesmotic sprain: occurs when the forefoot and toes are planted and the shin and body moves over the foot

3. Different Grades of Sprains

There are 3 grades of ankle sprains, which include:

  • Grade 1/Mild – fibres of the ligament are stretched or strained, with the possibility of a mild tear. This will cause a small amount of swelling, pain and tenderness at the site.
  • Grade 2/Moderate – the ligament has sustained a partial tear but is still intact. There will be increased swelling and pain, with both weight-bearing and ankle motion, plus joint instability.
  • Grade 3/Severe – a complete tear or rupture to the ligament. There is intense pain, with substantial swelling. Walking and movement is unbearable, with obvious joint instability.

4. Healing Time

A mild to moderate grade injury can be managed back to health in approximately 6-8 weeks, with more severe or high syndesmotic sprain taking several months to recover 1,2 .

There is a high recurrence rate of sprains, especially if inadequate rehabilitation did not take place after the initial injury 2,4 – you have got to bulletproof that injury! It is so important that The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) have written guidelines on how to rehabilitate and prevent these injuries from reoccurring with a range of stretches and strengthening exercises listed.

Knowing what grade of injury you have sustained and stage you are at is beneficial to guide your management. The Osteopaths at CHH will complete a thorough examination (including special tests) to distinguish between these different grades of injury and help rule out a fracture. We will also provide you with a tailored exercise rehab program, to get you back on track and doing the things you love.

5. Some tips after injuring your Ankle:

  • Place ice over the ankle and taking some painkillers can help take the edge off
  • Elevate the leg for the next 24 hours, just wiggle your toes every periodically to keep the feeling in your foot.
  • Compression of the leg in tandem with icing and elevation can also help relieve the initial painful symptoms.
  • Seek osteopathic advice.

6. Some tips on how to prevent these Injuries:

Strength exercises:

Ankle range of motion stretching exercises

Seated ankle strength exercises with Theraband

Standing calf raises

Standing Proprioceptive exercises

Over the past 25 years, the Osteopaths at CHH have been treating and managing ankle sprains. If you would like to discuss your injury further or would like to have some treatment, simply call the clinic to speak to one of our Osteopaths or book an appointment now.