Ankle sprains are the most common sustained during sport, accounting for 40% of all athletic injuries and is commonly seen in sports such as AFL, basketball netball and soccer.
80% of ankle injuries involve the lateral ligamentous complex, comprised of the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL), and the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL).
20% of ankle injuries come from medial ligament and syndesmosis sprains. These ankle sprains have been reported to result in significantly greater time lost to injury and long-term disability.
80% of ankle sprains make full recovery with conservative management, while 20% of acute ankle sprains develop mechanical or functional instability such as pain, swelling or instability, resulting in chronic ankle instability.
Taking a detailed history with injury mechanism is crucial in developing suitable rehabilitation strategies.
A thorough physical examination is then performed to classify the injury in-terms of instability, and the presence of other features such as medial or syndesmosis pathologies, swelling and joint restriction, mid and forefoot lesions, motor control and strength deficits around the ankle and foot.
Goals and Expectations are discussed and a management plan is established together.
Current evidence supports exercise therapy performed in high doses of 150 minutes per week for 6 weeks reduces the likelihood of recurrent ankle sprains by 42%, which includes graded strength, balance, mobility, plyometric and agility drills.
Taping has also been shown to reduce the risk of recurrent sprain by 60% when done for 6 months following an ankle sprain.
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