Ankle Sprains

What is it?

An ankle sprain occurs when you 'roll' your ankle or it 'gives way' and damage occurs to one or more ligaments of the ankle.

What causes it?

The ligaments of the ankle act to prevent the foot and ankle from turning excessively inward or excessively outward. When either or these movements are beyond what the ligament can withstand, damage occurs. This damage can range from mild overstretching of the ligament to severe tearing. Sprains can occur in everyday life and are also common in sports that involve jumping, running, rapid change of direction or uneven surfaces.

Signs and Symptoms

The presentation of sprained ankles is very diverse and depends on the extent of the damage. Pain may be mild to severe, in mild cases there may be little evidence of an injury and in more severe cases swelling and bruising may evident. There may be an inability to weight bear on the affected ankle.

How is it treated

Initial treatment for ankle sprains involves RICER (rest, ice, compression, elevation and referral). Ultrasound imaging is usually required to determine the extent of the damage. Strapping and immobilisation may be required and once the ligaments have healed a rehabilitation program is used to restore strength in the ankle.