One of the most common injuries in the ankle is an acute ankle sprain. It occurs when the ankle is forcefully stretched beyond its normal range of motion. The patient’s ankle becomes swollen, and painful, and is difficult to put weight on that ankle. Ankle sprains often happen during sports such as basketball or badminton, and when running or hiking on uneven grounds.
When people think of a “sprained ankle”, people typically think of the outside of their ankle. However, did you know you can also sprain the inside ankle as well?
There are 3 types of ankle sprains – inversion, eversion, or high ankle sprain.
Inversion (lateral) ankle sprain – this is the most common and occurs when the ankle rolls outwards. It usually injures the lateral ankle collateral ligament complex comprising 3 ligaments.
Eversion sprain – far less common and occurs when the ankle rolls inwards. It usually injures the ankle deltoid ligament complex, which comprises 5 ligaments.
High ankle sprain – typically due to collision or high-impact sports, occurs when the ankle is dorsiflexed and forcefully rotated. This is a serious injury and injures the ligaments that stabilise our shinbones (tibia and fibula).
Signs and symptoms of acute ankle sprain include:
We often see patients who sought deep tissue massage or joint manipulation immediately following an ankle sprain, only to discover that they actually suffered a ligament tear or avulsion fracture from the sprain. Such techniques can risk further damage to the injured ankle, hence it is vital to seek a thorough medical examination first.
Treatment options for acute ankle sprain include:
Patients often have a misconception of letting their ankles “heal” themselves. Oftentimes, due to inadequate rest and rehabilitation, they end up developing scar tissues within the ankle, resulting in chronic swelling, pain, a restricted range of motion, and eventually developing chronic ankle sprain. Lack of rehabilitation also increases the risk of suffering recurrent ankle sprains by up to 40%.1
Patients may also immobilize the ankle too much that they may give themselves an overly sensitized ankle, also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Hence it is imperative that a professional take a look and give you accurate information on how to recover from an ankle sprain appropriately.