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Ankle sprains - what works best?

Ankle sprains are very common, and many will suffer an inversion-type injury where the ligaments and tendons are stressed on the outside of the ankle. This type of injury makes up around 85% of all ankle sprains, and is highly prevalent in the sporting world. Poor rehabilitation after initial injury unfortunately leads to increased chances of re-injury.

Ankle sprains can range from a grade I, to a grade III in severity. A grade III ankle sprain means the ligament has completely ruptured. Mobilisation with movement has shown to be very effective in reducing pain, and improving balance and function following a grade I or grade II inversion sprain. Six sessions of mobilisation with movement produced very encouraging results, and should be encouraged and monitored closely by your health professional.

Chronic ankle instability is prevalent in around 20% of those who suffer an inversion sprain. It is thought to be attributed to a delayed muscle reflex of stabilising lower leg muscles, poor lower leg muscle strength, and poor posture control. An effective treatment programme should address both mechanical and functional insufficiencies to avoid chronic ankle instability.

A conservative approach is mostly recommended, however, there will be those where a surgical option will be offered to provide mechanical stability to the ankle.

Gogate, N. et al. (2021). The effectiveness of mobilisation with movement on pain, balance, and function following acute and sub acute inversion ankle sprain - A randomised, placebo controlled trial. 48, 91-100.


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