Sprained ankle treatment


ankle sprain treatmentAnkle sprains are very common, especially if playing sports which require rapid and reactive changes in direction. It is important to diagnose which ligaments are injured and to what extent through hands on tests we conduct, and also to check that no fracture or more serious injury is present. This guides our management and assists our decision on whether to get imaging (e.g. X-ray, MRI) if required, but also whether it can be rehabilitated effectively with our conservative approach.

Important Ottawa Rule of 3

Ankle X-ray is only required if there is any pain in the malleolar zone and any one of the following:

  • Bone tenderness along the distal 6 cm of the posterior edge of the tibia or tip of the medial malleolus, OR
  • Bone tenderness along the distal 6 cm of the posterior edge of the fibula or tip of the lateral malleolus, OR
  • An inability to bear weight both immediately and in the emergency department for four steps.

RICE (first 48-72 hours)

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation

We also will use this within treatment to reduce swelling and pain whilst we re-establish movement in a safe, graded and effective manner.

Apart from rehabilitating an acutely sprained ankle, which involves reducing pain and swelling and transitioning back to weight bearing activities over time, often our Osteopaths at Balance Osteopathy see people who have not had treatment or rehabilitation following an ankle sprain injury. Whilst it has become no longer painful and the person is able to weight bear, walk and move relatively pain free, we often find in this situation lingering joint restriction and altered compensatory movement patterns. If left unchecked, this frequently is seen to lead to problems later on with low back discomfort or issues elsewhere as the body compensates for lack of proper motion in the foot and ankle complex.

At Balance Osteopathy we can use functional movements to see if the injury is fully rehabilitated and use hands on techniques alongside safe and effective strategies, individualised for your movement to restore optimal function of your foot and ankle relative to what you want to be doing (e.g. walking, running, return to sport…etc).