Why do I keep spraining my ankle?

Well chances are it’s because you haven’t rehabilitated it properly! So many of us fall victim to the common; “Whoops! there goes my ankle”, have a week off sport, oh look the pain’s gone, strap it up and get back out there, a few games later “whoops, there goes my ankle again” pattern! Does this sound like you? If so, read on because I’m going to tell you what you need to do to break this cycle!

Before we continue we need some background information on ankle anatomy. This blog will focus on inversion sprains (when your foot rolls inwards) as they are the most common. There are 3 main ligaments on the outside of your ankle; anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL), and the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL). Ligaments attach bone to bone and provide passive support to the ankle joint. They are then covered by other soft tissue structures such as muscles and tendons which provide active support. An ankle sprain happens when you roll your ankle by changing direction, twisting or landing awkwardly. When this happens the ligaments can be overstretched and damaged. There are 3 grades of ligament damage from grade 1 being slight tearing of the ligament to grade 3 which is a complete tear.

Lots of people think that grade 3 tears need surgery. In reality, surgical approaches are becoming less and less common, and only considered if there are other factors at play. With the right conservative approach these types of injuries have a 70% chance of a good recovery WITHOUT surgery.

After rolling an ankle we fall into the trap of thinking everything is good to go once the pain and swelling reduces BUT, this is not the case. Range of motion, strength, balance, proprioception (knowing where your body is in space) and control are all factors which can be impaired following an ankle sprain and often forgotten about. That is why the biggest predictor for an ankle sprain is a previous ankle sprain!

Physiotherapists are your go to guru for all things ankle related. We have the skills to not only provide pain relief and advice in the initial phase of recovery but are also equipped to analyse and break down movement to find your weaknesses. Even better, we have a toolbox full of tricks to turn these weaknesses into strengths, reducing the risk of re-injury!

Have you sprained your ankle before? Do you go through multiple rolls of tape each sporting season? If so, I challenge you to book yourself a consult to see one of our Physiotherapists today! Call 86826665 to get yourself moving better than ever!

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