An ankle sprain is a well-known injury that involves the strain of the ligaments that support the ankle joint. Most commonly, it is the ligaments on the outside of the ankle that are injured (a lateral ankle sprain), as the ligaments on the inside of the ankle are much broader and stronger.

What causes ankle sprain?

Lateral ankle sprains happen when the foot rolls inwards under the leg, straining the ligaments on the outside of the ankle that prevent this movement. This can sometimes happen when walking or running over uneven ground, or when changing direction suddenly. Most people have rolled their ankle throughout their lifetime, though perhaps not seriously.

How can Chiropractic help with ankle sprain?

In the initial phase after your injury, following the POLICE protocol (protect, off-load, ice, compression and elevate) is recommended. Following this your Chiropractor will most likely implement the following regime to give you the best outcome:

Correcting ankle and foot misalignment – The foot bones generally shift out of their normal alignment during an ankle sprain, and this is often not considered during the typical ‘medical’ assessment or treatment. Depending on the pain and severity of the sprain, chiropractic adjustments are effective at treating and preventing ankle pain.

Mobilisation of the ankle and foot

Adjustments to the spine and pelvis – The alignment of your spine and pelvis may play a factor to hasten the recovery of your ankle sprain by potentially improving overall and lower limb alignment as well as enhancing nerve flow messages between the brain and sprained ankle joint.

Dry needling

Massage and trigger point therapy

Strengthening and balance exercises

Taping and bracing

What can I do at home to get better?

Early movement and exercise will help you get back to your activity best after an ankle sprain. In the early phase, ice for 10 minutes on/off three times for the first 2–3 days may help settle pain.

As your pain allows, movement of the ankle will help to regain function quickly. An easy exercise to start movement with is to draw the alphabet with your foot every few hours throughout the day.

You can also start some muscle activation and strengthening exercises by doing 5 x 10-second holds, pushing your foot down, up, in and out against a resistance such as your own foot or a wall.

Towards Wellness: Deep Breathing

Breathe Deeply. Oxygen is a vital source of life. You may know how to breathe, but are you breathing properly? Most of us don’t breathe properly – we take only shallow breathes and breathe to 1/3 of our lung capacity. Athletes are coached proper breathing techniques to get their best performance. A full breath is one where your lungs are completely filled, your abdomen expands and there’s minimum movement in your shoulders.

S-T-R-E-T-C-H of the Month: Quadricep Stretch

1. Stand upright

2. Step forward with your right leg

3. Slowly bend your right knee keeping your left leg straight

4. Continue to bend your right knee until a gentle stretch is felt on top of the thigh

5. Hold for 5 seconds

6. Return to the start position

7. Repeat steps 1 to 6 five more times

8. Perform with left leg forward