This is commonly a result of a twist of the ankle in which the ligaments are stretched resulting in pain, swelling and an inability to put weight through the leg.
Repeated ankle sprains can lead to the ankle becoming ‘unstable’ as the ligaments are repeatedly damaged and the normal control of the joint is lost. Additionally, joints and nerves around the ankle and foot can be involved in combination with ligament.
In the acute (early) stage consists of ice, strapping and re-education of movement to prevent further damage and restore normal function. Early restoration of function is paramount to accelerate recovery as movement stimulates tissue repair.
Treatment for the ‘unstable’ aims at strengthening and reactivating the muscles around the ankle to compensate for the damage to the ligaments.
Changing chronic ankle sprains are more complex and rehabilitation needs to consider how you move and what the rest of your body is doing. We start to limp to protect damaged tissues and this pattern is learned by the brain and thus the problem continues. It is not uncommon to see people who have had a chronic ankle problem for 10 years, but most resolve within a short period of time.
Click here to see the following video for more information on ankle rehabilitation.