The ankle has three main ligaments which connect the foot with the lower leg and their role is to keep your ankle stable by preventing too much movement. However, when these ligaments are overstretched or torn due to a sudden movement, the ligaments and surrounding tissues become inflamed and you have a sprained ankle.
Ankle sprains are most common in people playing sports or running, but may also become a recurring problem in simple daily activities if you’ve previously experienced particularly bad sprains.
Recurring ankle sprains
Some people experience recurring ankle sprains, and this could be for one of the following reasons:
- You’ve had several ankle sprains already which caused scarring in the ligaments, making them looser and unable to effectively support your ankle.
- You’ve had inadequate rehabilitation from previous sprains which can lead to weak muscles surrounding the ankle joint causing proprioceptive loss. This means that you cannot as easily judge where your foot is in relation to your leg, and you may find yourself rolling your foot over more easily.
How to prevent ankle sprains
If you know you are prone to ankle sprains, then it is important to be diligent with your care to prevent recurring sprains.
- Use tape or other means to support your ankle. We’ll show you how to do it yourself at home prior to any sport or activity here at the clinic.
- Wear supportive shoes that help your feet to remain stable during the exercise or activity you are doing.
- Make sure you warm up prior to exercise to loosen the muscles around your lower legs and ankles.
- Strengthen the ankles with appropriate therapy and exercise at home. Our podiatrists will show you exercise you can do at home every day which will strengthen your ankles and reduce proprioceptive loss.
Related article: The 10 most common foot problems we treat in our podiatry clinics
Treatment options for Ankle Sprains
The best treatment at home is the RICE method:
- Rest – take the pressure of the inflammation to give it time to heal
- Ice – to lower blood flow and reduce swelling and redness, and warmth. Ice can prevent inflammation if you do it quickly after the injury.
- Compression – with an elastic bandage or wrap which can reduce swelling. Take care not to wrap too tightly as you can cut off blood circulation.
- Elevation – keep your ankle elevated above your heart to help your body absorb extra fluid.
At Sanders Podiatry Clinics, we will also offer the following treatments:
Physical therapy – our podiatrists would apply gentle techniques to help the ankle develop strength again and restabilise.
Gait analysis – we will look at your gait and assess whether there are any underlying functional reasons you may be getting recurring ankle sprains.
Footwear changes – we’ll help you with changes to footwear if necessary, so that your foot is properly supported during your activities or sports.
Orthoses/Biomechanical therapy – we may recommend custom orthotics to help balance and stabilise the foot.
Call us to arrange an appointment with one of our podiatrists
In our podiatry clinic, we develop personalised treatment plans for our clients. Rehabilitating the ankle is important as you want to do this correctly to prevent further recurring ankle sprains. We also recommend exercise and equipment at home to help you develop strength and balance in your feet, ankles and lower legs.
Call us at a convenient location near you to make an appointment with one of our podiatry clinics – we have three locations around Adelaide: