We’ve all gone over on our ankles once or twice, on slippery ice, or on the sports pitch… My favourite stories are the patients who have a “merry” tumble (one lady in clinic recently went over and saved every drop of a glass of summer pimms – very well done!)
Diagnosing these injuries at home can be tough; swelling can be deceptive, and bruising even more so – they’re not always indicative of where the tissue damage has occurred.
The extra proprioceptive qualities of the ankle and foot joints help us to keep our balance, so the chances are if you hurt them badly once, it can happen again without the proper rehabilitation.
Here’s the inside guide to ankle injuries…
- If there’s blood, it’s not good!
Ankle sprains are not all created equal, but if there’s bruising on your ankle or foot, it likely means that a tissue has torn enough to bleed. Gravity will draw bleeding to the lowest point, and it may not come to the surface at the site of injury. If you’ve sprained your ankle badly, and there is swelling, check all surfaces of the foot for bruising – even the sole! It may come up where you least expect it!
- Don’t rule out a break!
If your ankle is swollen, and you can’t bear your own body weight, don’t rule out a fracture. Stranger things have happened!! An evulsion fracture occurs when the malleolus (the knobbly bit of your ankle) is pulled away by the force of a rolled ankle. It’s certainly not life threatening, but if you’re unsure, go to your nearest minor injuries or urgent care centre.
- Correct Rehabilitation is KING
Rehabilitating any ankle injury always takes twice as long as you think it will. Your ankle is capable of taking extreme forces – think of your entire body weight jumping up and down! It absorbs and redirects forces dynamically, and adapts constantly to keep your balance. Start with simple mobility drills, building to bodyweight exercises, and then on to dynamic balancing exercises with added resistance or weights. These can be guided by your osteopath or sports therapist.