At Sports Physio Ireland we see a lot of people with ankle injuries. The most common clients with these injuries are just after a classic ankle sprain injury. They go over on the outside of their ankle, hear a ‘pop’ and feel pain when they try to walk. The ankle then becomes swollen over the next few hours, limiting the range of motion in the joint.
Your ankle joint has 3 ligaments that help stabilise the joint and protect you from ‘going over on it.’ An awkward fall or forced inversion injury can rupture these ligaments. Often causing bruising to the surrounding bone surface. Swelling occurs as the body realises it is injured and begins the healing process. This is why your joint swells, it is promoting blood flow to the area to initiate healing. People are often obsessed with getting rid of ankle swelling or stopping it all together, but it is necessary for the first 36 hours.
Swelling increases the temperature and pressure in the joint resulting in quite a sensitive, hot, red coloured joint. The best course of management for an ankle sprain is take the weight off it, use crutches or a physio boot. Swelling can be controlled in the first 36 hours by keeping the foot elevated as often as possible, submerging it in a bucket of ice for one minute at least 10 times throughout day one & two after the injury has occurred. A stretchy bandage also helps in this 36 hour window to keep the swelling under control.
At this point you must try regain full joint movement, through balance and strengthening exercises after the initial 36 hours. Once you have sufficient ankle balance and strength you can progress to hopping, straight line running, followed by cutting and change of direction drills, before you return to training.
Head Physiotherapist and Dublin Senior Hurler
Check out our social media