The most common type of ankle injury is a lateral ankle sprain. This refers to the stretching or tearing of ligaments of the outer side out of the ankle. The ligaments most commonly involved are the talo-fibula ligament and calcano-fibula ligament.
Other structures such as the peroneal muscle tendons that run down the side of the ankle may also be involved in a lateral ankle injury.
How does lateral ankle ligament injury happen?
Ankle sprains are usually caused by an excessive rolling of the foot onto its outer edge so that the sole of the foot is turned inwards. This causes the ligaments on the outer side to overstretch and tear. A lateral ankle sprain can occur by twisting your ankle while running on uneven surfaces or falling on the outside of your foot.
What should I do if I suspect I have a lateral ankle sprain?
Rest is the first thing you should do and aim to reduce the swelling by using the RICE method of treatment (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation). More information on the RICE method can be found on our “Acute Injury Management” information sheet. Initially you should also protect h injured ankle by taping or a brace support.
How can physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy can help you manage the initial stages of your acute ankle injury with techniques to help reduce pain and swelling. During the later stages a physiotherapist may use stretching techniques, friction massage, and acupuncture. An exercise rehabilitation program including balance exercises, strengthening would help return strength and stability back to your ankle.