Bad news: Your neglected ankle injury will not get better

Bad news: Your neglected ankle injury will not get better

Ankle injury happens in all age groups, but most commonly in people who are physically active. For example, basketball, football and soccer players are especially prone to ankle injuries. It also more common among teenagers and people in their 20s and 30s.

In addition to all of that, reinjuries happen very often in individuals who has sustained a previous ankle injury. In fact, they are 3.5 times more likely to sprain their ankles again! Our therapists has seen individuals who sprained thier ankles 3 times in a span of 6 months, and each sprain is worse than the previous ones. Therefore, it is very important to understand your ankle injuries so that you can prevent them in the future!

Ankle joint 101

The ankle joint is made up of your tibia, fibula and talus. The joint is then stabilized by ligaments on the inside and outside of the ankle. The most common injury of the ankle involves the anterior tibiofibular ligament (ATFL), followed by the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL), and posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL). About 70% of ankle injuries invloves the ATFL.

Image showing the tibia, fibular and talus bones; and the ATFL, CFL and PTFL

What happens after an ankle sprain?

After you sprained an ankle, the first thing to do is to follow the P.R.I.C.E. protocol:

P – Protection. An ankle may be protected by avoiding weight-bearing on the injured leg, using crutches and cane.
R – Rest. Avoid activities that stress the injured area to the point of pain or that may slow or prevent healing.
I – Ice. Ice is recommended with the intent to minimize and reduce swelling as well as to decrease pain. Limit ice to 15-20mins every 1-2 hours.
C – Compression. Use of a compression wrap to help minimize swelling and to provide mild support
E – Elevation. To help reduce the pooling of fluid in the injured extremity or joint, to decrease pain and speed up the recovery time.

After you have establised that there are no fractures to the bone(s), you may choose to start rehab for the ankle. It will focus on reducing your pain, stretching out the tight structures and strengthening weak muscles. Balance training, which is optimal to prevent reinjury, will also be part of the rehab process.

If you sprained your ankle recently, please do not wait any longer. Contact us so we may help you return to your daily activities or sports.