Ankle Injuries and Treatment
A sprain refers to the tearing of a ligament. The most common type of ankle sprain is the result of an inversion injury, where the ankle is rolled inwards forcefully under the weight of the body.
This mechanism most commonly results in injury to the lateral ligament complex on the outside of the ankle. Appropriate assessment and treatment of such injuries is crucial. Associated joint laxity, combined with reduced strength and proprioception around the ankle can result in recurrent injury. A physiotherapist can determine the severity of the sprain, the type of sprain and devise appropriate rehabilitation and guidelines for return to sport. Occasionally, an ankle sprain (High ankle sprains, Grade 3 sprains etc) may require immobilisation in a Cam walker boot to allow optimal healing of damaged structures.
Fractures and Chondral Injuries
The ankle region is a common site for fractures. Symptoms can mimic that of an ankle sprain. A physiotherapist can determine whether your injury may require an x-ray based on questioning and a physical examination of your ankle. Damage to cartilage and small fractures in the ankle joint occur occasionally and usually require review by an Orthopaedic Specialist.
A strain refers to the tearing of a muscle. The muscles of the calf are the most commonly injured in the ankle region. Injury may occur with over-stretching or excessive force acting on the ankle joint. A physiotherapist can administer local treatment to the injury and then devise a rehabilitation program aimed at restoring full function and limiting the chance of reoccurrence. On occasions, a complete rupture of the achilles tendon may occur. These injuries require intervention from an Orthopaedic Specialist.
Certain biomechanical deficiencies affecting the foot and ankle may be the cause of overuse injuries around the ankle. Examples include: Stress fractures of the bones surrounding the ankle, often as a result of increased impact. Achilles tendinopathy can manifest as pain in the back of the heel that is generally worse with activities such as running. Other tendinopathies of the tibialis posterior, flexor hallicus longus and peroneal tendons can result in pain around the ankle.
Assessment of foot and lower limb biomechanics and discrepancies in muscle strength and length is important. The physiotherapist will adopt a holistic approach to treatment. This may include manual therapy, orthotics, education, activity modification and an exercise program aimed at restoring muscle imbalances. Footwear, as well as the frequency, intensity and the nature of training programs can be altered to reduce load on painful structures around the ankle.
Physiotherapy plays a major role in restoring full range of motion and strength in your ankle following surgery.
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