Ankle ligament sprain in runner.

What are Ankle Ligament Sprains ?

Ankle ligament sprains are a common sporting injury particularly seen in netball or off road running. On planting the foot the ankle rolls due to uneven ground, or in the case of netball – landing on someone else’s foot. Ow! 😣. This causes the ankle ligaments ( usually the outside lateral ones) to over stretch and occasionally tear. This can be very painful and cause a lot of bruising and inflammation.

Ligaments take time to heal and a bad sprain can take a few months to recover and even longer to get back to competitive sport.

So How Can Osteopathy Help?

As discussed in our last post “ Joint Inflammation – Friend or Foe ? “ Our role as an Osteopath is to support and regulate the inflammatory process to allow faster and effective healing.

In the initial couple of hours post injury it is necessary to apply ice to prevent internal bleeding – 5-10 mins on, 20 mins off. After this it is important to support the inflammatory process which is the bodies natural response to tissue injury.

Osteopathic soft tissue and articulation at this stage :

a) Helps to release the chemical mediators of inflammation and allows them to do their job.

b) Increases the blood supply which provides greater oxygenation to the tissues and in turn energy for the complex chain of healing events.

c) Helps to shift leaked excessive fluid ( oedema) back to the heart. Acupuncture is also really good at helping with this.

In the later stages of repair soft tissue work helps with the remodelling and orientation of the new collagen fibres that have been laid down to repair the ligaments.

Exercise prescription throughout the process is important, but especially regards retraining the nerves in the ankle joint ( proprioceptors) that help the foot recognise uneven surfaces, preventing subsequent injuries. Rehab programs for getting the patient back to function for their chosen sport is also a must – going back too early without proper retraining and protective strapping can cause re injury.