Sprained ankle Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy treatment for a sprained ankle
Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in children. Ankles are made up of three bones with ligaments (tough, stretchy tissue which hold the bones together). The ligaments help stop the ankle joint from moving around too much.
Sprained ankles usually happen when there is a sudden movement or twist, and often when the foot rolls over. A sudden movement or twist can overstretch the ligaments, causing tears and bleeding (which shows as bruising and swelling) around the ankle joint. These movements are more likely to happen when a person is running, jumping or quickly changing direction in sports such as basketball, netball or football.
Treatment is based on First Aid principles. It should start immediately and continue for the next two to three days. Using the Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (RICE) strategy will help.
Rest the injured area and avoid activities that cause a lot of pain. If your child is having difficulty walking, crutches should be used.
Ice: Apply ice to the injured area for 10-15 minutes. Never place the ice directly on the skin because it can burn the skin. You should always wrap the ice or icepack in a teatowel or a pillow case. Do this every two to four hours for two to three days, when your child is awake. An ice pack is best made using a plastic bag with some ice and water in it. This moulds better to the ankle joint area.
Compression: Use a firm bandage that is not too tight and does not stop circulation or cause extra pain. The bandage should cover from just above the ankle right down to the foot. Do not cover the toes.
Elevation: Raise the ankle whenever possible to assist with reducing the swelling. For example, raise your child's injured leg and rest it on some pillows while they are watching TV, reading or resting.
If the pain from a sprained ankle that you have been managing at home has not improved after a few days, it is best to seek medical advice from your doctor or physiotherapist.
Key points to remember:
Ankle sprains are a common injury in children.
The pain and swelling from an ankle sprain should improve within two to three days if the treatment guidelines are followed.
If your child is unable to put weight on the injured ankle and/or you are unable to control their pain, you should seek medical advice.
Most children recover fully from an ankle sprain.