Ankle Injuries. From First Aid To Complex procedures.
There are varying degrees of severity concerning ankle injuries, with this article focusing on some of the common conditions experienced and the non-surgical treatment options available to you.
At some stage in our life’s we are likely to suffer an ankle injury of some description, the treatment you undertake can dictate your overall recovery time.
Following any ankle injuries, it is important to consider the RICE principles through rest, ice, compression, and elevation of the affected area.
Rest is the best cure for the vast majority of conditions while applying compression and ice can help to reduce any inflammation experienced. By elevating the affected area above the level of the heart, you can also lessen the flow of blood which in turn can reduce swelling also.
Many are now opting to wear an ankle support as part of this treatment, though it is worth noting that sports braces are not designed to be used in isolation, but as part of an overall treatment program consisting of rest, strengthening exercises and physiotherapy.
Ankle injuries are commonplace in sport and everyday life, with the common sprained ankle resulting in over one million accident and emergency visits every year. The injury itself can occur following a slip, trip or fall and results in inflammation and instability of the joint which can be painful and limit your overall movement.
Basic Procedures After Injury
Rest is one the best cures for a sprained ankle, with the RICE principles ensuring you will be back on your feet in no time. Many choose to wear an ankle support as part of that treatment in order to apply compression to the affected area when active, thereby working to reduce inflammation.
There are many compression based ankle support products available on the market. What you need to look for is one which is manufactured from breathable material and is designed to be worn when active.
Where a standard level of compression is not enough, there are strap versions which allow the user to apply a bespoke degree of compression depending on their needs.
Ligaments are the tough bands of tissue which are responsible for the stabilization of a joint, allowing you to walk, run and jump. Damage here is typical as a result of a bad fall or sprain, where the ligaments have stretched beyond their normal range of motion and have become inflamed. In more severe ankle injuries the ligaments can even rupture and tear which may require surgery to remedy.
Damage to the ligaments creates instability in the joint, something you will need to address through strengthening exercises, though a sports brace can also help to keep you mobile. You may consider a ligament ankle support which offers compression to manage inflammation while the external strapping acts as an external ligament to offer additional support. These types of products are designed to keep you active for longer and can be worn with trainers.
The break experienced will dictate whether or not surgery is required, with a straight forward break being placed in plaster to heal naturally. A more complicated break or fracture can require surgery to pin the bones back in place.
It goes without saying that a broken ankle is one of the most severe ankle injuries you can experience and can result in a lengthy period on the sidelines of your chosen sport while you recover, followed by an extended period of physiotherapy to regain strength in the joint.
Following the removal of the cast, you need to strengthen the joint to minimize the risk of subsequent injury.
You may experience instability in the early days of rehab and feel that your ankle is more likely to roll when in motion, therefore you may consider a stirrup ankle support to prevent any unnatural sideways motion in the joint. The design allows for up and down movement of the foot so that you can walk while offering additional support to minimize the risk of you rolling your ankle and causing further damage.
If you are unsure as to the severity of an injury or the type of ankle support which is best suited to manage a particular condition, then you should seek advice from a clinician, where a complete treatment program can be reviewed.
Dave Regis discusses the use of orthotics for the management of ankle injuries, reviewing injury rehabilitation through exercise and the use of bracing and supports. He writes articles focussing on the utilization of an ankle support and other methods of recovery.