Can Podiatry Help With Ankle Sprains?

Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries, and one frequently seen and attended to by doctors, physiotherapists, podiatrists, and other medical professionals. It’s also commonly seen outside of sport, and can occur simply while walking.

While a sprained ankle is a fairly common injury, it can also be debilitating and impact your ability to manoeuvre around your daily life, let alone participate in sport. However, podiatry may assist in treating an ankle sprain and helping you to get back on your feet safely.

This blog explains what an ankle sprain is, how it can occur, its symptoms, and how podiatry may be able to help ease the pain and return to your daily activities. For further information, personalised advice, or to book an appointment in Barwon Heads or Ocean Grove, contact our team at 13th Beach Health Services today.

How Ankle Sprains Occur

While ankle sprains are a common sports injury, participating in sport is just one of the ways you can sprain your ankle. You can sprain your ankle doing any sudden movement or twist that turns the foot to roll inwards, as this can overstretch the ligaments and cause tears and bleeding around the ankle joint. This is seen most frequently in sports that involve a lot of running, jumping, and changing direction quickly, such as netball and basketball.

However, any sudden twist can tear the ligament, and can happen while walking or running. Additionally, some people are more prone to experiencing recurrent ankle sprains.

Symptoms Of An Ankle Sprain

The symptoms of an ankle sprain can vary widely. Common symptoms of an ankle sprain include:

  • Inability to bear weight on the leg of the injured ankle
  • Ankle pain
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Bruising
  • Decreased range of motion at the ankle
  • Tenderness to touch or mobilise
  • Sudden popping sound during the injury

Depending on the injury, symptoms such as swelling may occur straight away or take several hours to appear.

Ankle Sprain Grades

Ankle sprains are generally classed as one of three grades.

Grade 1: Slight tearing of the ligament that may include mild swelling, tenderness, and stiffness. A grade 1 ankle sprain is commonly referred to as a ‘rolled ankle’. For these injuries, rest may be all that is required.

Grade 2: A larger, but incomplete tear of the ligament. A grade 2 ankle sprain may be more painful, stiff, and swollen than a grade 1 ankle sprain, and usually lasts several days. For grade 2 ankle injuries you should ensure your ankle is healed before returning to sport.

Grade 3: Complete tear, or rupture, of the ligament or ligaments. Typically, grade 2 ankle sprains involve severe swelling, bruising, and pain, and you may not be able to bear weight on the ankle. Rehabilitation is required in many cases before returning to sport.

Preventing An Ankle Sprain

To reduce your risk for future ankle sprains, you should complete adequate rehabilitation.

Whether you have sprained your ankle in the past or not, you should:

  • Perform proper warmup prior to exercise, including movements specific to the sport
  • Wear supportive footwear
  • Use an ankle brace or tape
  • Take extra care when on uneven or wet ground, particularly for the first few weeks when recovering from an ankle sprain

Podiatry For Ankle Sprains

If you don’t receive adequate rehabilitation for an ankle sprain, you are at risk of re-spraining it and worsening the grade of the sprain.

In addition to reducing the risk of future recurrent sprains, adequate rehabilitation such as podiatry may help to reduce pain and increase your range of motion, allowing you to get back to doing what you love sooner.

Seeing a podiatrist within 48 hours or so of your ankle sprain will allow the podiatrist to assess your ankle and determine the sprain’s grade.

Following assessment, your podiatrist should shift their focus to functional rehabilitation. The specific exercises you perform will depend on your ankle sprain, but all aim to rebuild strength in the ankle and the affected ligament.

Put Your Feet In Our Hands

Your feet, ankles, and legs can have a large impact on your overall health, and we don’t want you to feel pain or discomfort any longer. At 13th Beach Health Services, we frequently see ankle sprain injuries and know how to assist to help you get back on your feet. To make a podiatry appointment with our knowledgeable team, contact us at 13th Beach Health Services today.