A sprained ankle occurs when there is damage and tearing to the soft tissue and ligaments of the ankle.
The lateral ligament, which sits on the outside aspect of the ankle and acts to prevent the foot and ankle from turning inward excessively, is the most commonly affected. Ankle sprains can range in severity, from a small partial tear resulting in minimal pain, to a complete rupture resulting in significant pain and disability.
Ankle sprains commonly occur during activities involving jumping and landing, or rapid changes in direction, especially on uneven surfaces. Some examples are basketball, football, volleyball and netball.
There are many factors that can increase the risk of an ankle sprain, including: poor balance, muscle weakness, poor core stability, previous ankle sprains, poor flexibility, fatigue, and inappropriate footwear.
Physiotherapy treatment can aid rehabilitation after an ankle sprain, with various techniques to reduce pain, swelling and ankle stiffness. In addition to this an exercise program addressing strength, balance and flexibility is essential in order to return to full function and help prevent the recurrence of ankle sprains.