Ankle Pain

An ankle sprain involves damage to the ankle ligaments, typically sustained during simple sudden traumatic incidents, such as rolling or twisting the ankle. The ligaments on the outside (lateral aspect) of the ankle are much more susceptible to injury than the inside (medial aspect), and can produce pain, swelling, bruising and a sense of instability.

Prompt assessment and management is essential in the first 24 to 48 hours, namely following the RICER regime and precautionary X-ray to rule out bony fracture, if indicated.

Your osteopath may assist in the rehabilitation of an ankle sprain with the following treatment options:

  • Soft tissue treatment of the ligament scar tissue to promote optimal stability and range of motion.
  • Active and passive mobility exercises to restore normal range of motion to the foot and ankle complex.
  • Balancing exercises to re-strengthen the receptors housed in the ligament that provide stability and improve position sense (proprioception).
  • Your osteopath can organise and assist with braces/strapping products if required for more vigorous exercise.

Prompt assessment and management is essential in the first 24 to 48 hours, namely following the RICER regime and precautionary X-ray to rule out bony fracture, if indicated.

It is also important to consider the various predisposing factors that may have caused the injury in the first place. This may include:

  • poor foot/ankle mechanics, i.e a stiff ankle joint will tend to make the ligaments work harder
    poor footwear
  • joint restrictions and muscle tightness in the lumbo-pelvic region and/or lower limb
    a leg length discrepancy which may be overloading one particular ankle.

Your osteopath may also refer you to a GP for any additional medications or treatment.

Research and evidence

The efficacy of manual joint mobilisation/manipulation in treatment of lateral ankle sprains: a systematic review.

Loudon JK, Reiman MP, Sylvain J.

Published in British Journal of Sports Medicine

For acute ankle sprains, manual joint mobilisation diminished pain and increased dorsiflexion range of motion. For treatment of subacute/chronic lateral ankle sprains, these techniques improved ankle range-of-motion, decreased pain and improved function.

Provided courtesy of the Osteopathy Australia

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