A "rolled" or sprained ankle is the most common sports injury. Many people will get back to their normal activities quickly, but it isn't always so simple. Others will have soreness and stiffness for 6 months or more, and some people believe their ankle was never the same after rolling it.
Other people will suffer with recurring ankle sprains. To avoid this it is important to know the right way to look after your rolled ankle.
I've just rolled my ankle what do I do?
Can you walk on it? If so, this is a good sign (obviously). It is important to move the ankle as normally as possible as soon as possible. If you can't walk on it, it is important to get assessed by an appropriately trained health professional (we can help with this) as you may need an x-ray.
Typical injury management such as RICE (Rest, ice, compression, elevation) should be used in either case
Do I need to see someone?
We think it is best to. That doesn't mean everyone needs ongoing treatment. For many people it will be an assessment to make sure there is no major damage, and advice and education about how to look after it yourself, and how to return to sport/activity as quickly as possible.
Other injuries will require treatment. What type of treatment? Well this depends on how severe the injury is, what structures have been injured (muscles? ligaments? bones? all of the above?). Treatment may involve strapping, advice on how long to use ice and compression, and exercises.
Which Exercises should I do?
Well this is the million dollar question... every ankle sprain is different. They may range from simple ankle movements, through to strength and balance exercises, through to jumping and hopping. A good health professional should be able to start you off with exercises at the right level, then progress these exercises my making the tasks increasingly difficult as your healing tissues can handle it. The end goal should be the sport/activity you want to get back to.
My ankle doesn't hurt any more and I can run. So it's fixed. Right?
Maybe. Unfortunately we see people who continue to sprain the same ankle once they have done it once. We see others who end up with a stiff ankle, which over time can lead to other injuries in the knee, hip, or low back. Of course we see people who make a full and fast recovery also. The question is which one are you?
It's our job to know this. We honestly want to see you as few times as possible. But we also want you to make a complete recovery, so we don't end up seeing you again down the track. For some people this is one assessment, then you look after it yourself. For others it is us monitoring you and progressing your exercises over 3-6 months. Or anywhere in between.