A twisted ankle is one of the most common injuries for those participating in sport. Typically this occurs as the foot is planted on uneven ground or under excessive sideways force twisting the ankle joint under itself. What has happened is that the ankle ligaments, strong bands of tissue that stabilise joints, have become damaged as they have been stretched beyond their tensile limits.
The symptoms experienced will be pain and swelling along the outside of the ankle. Bruising is also often present and may track downwards and along the foot.
Initial treatment will involve ice packs and strapping to reduce the swelling and then progression onto regaining ankle strength and mobility. But perhaps the most important aspect to effectively rehabilitating the ankle is to work on the proprioception. This is the sense of position and movement within a joint and is essential for effective and stable function. Proprioceptive function is improved by increasingly challenging balance work and an effective programme will maximise rehabilitation and reduce future injury recurrence.
Usually a sprained ankle can be fully rehabilitated effectively within 6 weeks and failure to do so or recurrent injury suggests a more complicated injury necessitating further medical assessment.