Hey I rolled my ankle….. It’s Achilling me
Poor jokes aside, it’s an injury we treat all the time…The dreaded ankle sprain. Almost everyone who’s played sport has felt the sting of an ankle sprain (70% of the entire population will have at least one in their lifetime!), especially those in jumping & landing sports. It’s not surprising that it’s one of the most one of the most common injuries we see at Rozelle Physiotherapy. We’ve heard all the weird and wonderful ways people have managed to sprain their ankle from rolling over it on the Bay run, to falling down a flight of stairs a little worse for wear in heels. From the sportiest of the sporty to your couch potato no one is completely immune to the lateral ankle sprain.
While extremely common, only 50% of sprainers seek specific treatment. This may be due to the supposed simplicity of such a common injury, but 85-95% of those not receiving treatment will go on to sprain their ankle again. Each time we sprain the ligaments around the outside of the ankle get looser leading to a negative cycle of spraining over and over.
It’s only logical then to seek out excellent treatment & rehabilitation in this early stage, especially if you’re a first time sprainer. This ensures a safe return to sport/exercise/work, minimising risk of recurrence and maximising performance.
“When can I go back to sport/exercise/work?“ is the question we most often hear. It’s a very relevant question, but one that will generally require a thorough assessment and treatment plan from a physiotherapist.
In general, guidelines dictate:
However, general timeframes are just that….general and are not individualised to the level of strength, balance, functional control and demands of an individual’ssport/work. The decision to return to sport is a little more complex, with multiple factors that we take into account to help determine when it is safe to return to play.
“Can’t pain just tell me when it’s fine to return to play?“Unfortunately not, quite the opposite in fact. Pain is actually an extremely poor indicator of the state of the tissues and relying on pain to guide recovery leads to an increase in recurrence of ankle injuries due to returning to early.
“How can I tell when to go back then” ….I’m glad you asked. Fortunately, we use various performance measures (not just pain) focused around strength, balance, &control we use in clinic that guide us in determining when you’re ready to go back and be your best on field or at work.