Written by Cheyne Voss for Doctify
Many of us have suffered the misfortune of and associated discomfort of a sprained ankle. However, there are many things you can do to help improve your chance of a speedy recovery and prevent re-injuring yourself.
Doctify managed to catch up with Cheyne Voss and got the full lowdown on ankle sprains. Mr Voss is one of London’s leading physiotherapists. He graduated from Auckland University of Technology in 2004 and spent the first few years practicing in New Zealand.
What to do straight after an ankle sprain
- REST your ankle. Do not walk on it and limit weight-bearing activities (use crutches if necessary). If there is no fracture, it is safe for you to put some weight through your foot. An ankle brace often helps control swelling and adds stability while the ligaments are healing
- ICE your ankle to reduce the signs of swelling. However, do not apply ice directly onto your skin. Instead, wrap the ice in a towel or place it over some clothing
- COMPRESSION can help control swelling as well as immobilise and support your injury
- ELEVATE your foot by reclining and propping it up above your waist
Ankle injuries need rehabilitation. Otherwise, your ankle may not heal completely and you might re-injure it. All ankle sprains, from mild to severe, require three stages of recovery:
Stage 1: rest, protect and reduce the swelling of your injured ankle
Stage 2: restore your ankle’s flexibility, range of motion and strength
Stage 3: gradually return to normal activity and continue designated exercises
Should I go and see a physiotherapist?
Yes, I think it is important for patients to understand what damage they have done to their ankle and how they can best promote a healthy recovery. It is useful for patients to know both what they can do to help recovery as well as what they should avoid doing (e.g., applying to much pressure to the ankle).
Physiotherapy benefits the patient in many ways:
- Protects / prevents against injury
- Provides pain relief and controls inflammation
- Helps the joint regain full range of motion
- Strengthens the ankle
- Restores joint proprioception and balance
- Restores normal functionality and lifestyle
What sports should I avoid?
However, precautions can be taken if you want to continue your participation in these sports. For example, you can use ankle tape or an ankle brace to reduce the chances of damaging your ankle.
Is there anything that is still safe to do to stay fit?