Lateral Ankle Sprain

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Lateral Ankle Sprain

What is it?

With Wimbledon starting now is time to talk about the most common Tennis injury, the lateral ankle sprain. Tennis involves lots of lateral (side to side) and rotational movements which can significantly stress the players muscular system around the ankle joint. When tired, these muscles do not work as effectively and this can result in an ankle sprain. The mechanism is simple and normally is result of a sideways movement, the person’s foot points inwards with their weight on the outside of the foot, this lengthens the structures on the outside of the ankle and can cause them to tear if enough force is involved. This mechanism is called an “inversion injury”

Generally, the structures injured are a bundle of ligaments around the outside of the ankle called the “lateral ligament complex”, normally there are multiple ligaments involved. Quite commonly the “peroneal” muscles (muscles of the outside of the lower leg) also get strained during an injury like this.

It is imperative to have ankle sprains assessed quickly buy a clinician to ensure no serious has been done such as an ankle fracture or a damage to the cartilage.

How can joints and points help?

For this injury Joints and Points can offer a high a quality physiotherapy service to assess and treat musculoskeletal injuries, including ankle sprains. To correctly treat an ankle sprain it is imperative that a correct diagnosis of the issue is made, one of our clinicians will use a battery of tests to determine structures involved and the extent of the damage.

What might treatment involve?

In physiotherapy treatment is always heavily reliant on the individual, for example, a recreational Tennis player playing once per week would need a different rehabilitation protocol then a more serious competitor. Generally speaking most programmes will include manual therapy (massage, mobilisation, manipulation, ultrasound etc) and an exercise programme to increase the strength of the muscles around the ankle to aid healing and prevent re-injury of the area. Interestingly, some research has shown that after an ankle sprain there is a significant decrease in other, further away musculature like the glutes. In some cases, your clinician may feel the need to exercise other muscles along the “kinetic chain”.