Ankle injuries

This page contains information about two of the most common ankle injuries, lateral ankle sprain and medial ankle sprain.

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Lateral ankle sprain
This is the most common type of ankle injury  and involves damage to the ligaments on the outer side of your ankle. This is very common in most sports, but especially in netball, football, rugby, hockey and basketball. With moderate to severe ankle sprains it is common to have significant swelling and bruising afterwards, and it can be difficult to walk. You may be advised by your physiotherapist to have an Xray to exclude any fractures. Initially you will need to rest and protect the ankle, and adopting the R.I.C.E. principles is a good idea to limit swelling. From the initial stages of your injury, physiotherapy will be helpful for decreasing pain and swelling, regaining your movement and strength, and getting you back to normal walking. It is also important to retrain your balance and reflexes of the ankle so that you are strong and safe to return to sport. Physiotherapy treatment may include soft tissue and joint mobilisation, acupuncture, strengthening and stretching exercises, balance retraining and sport specific exercises.

Medial ankle sprain
This type of injury is less common and involves the ligaments on the inside of your ankle, This typically occurs in football or rugby players who kick an opposition player with the inside of their foot. The ligaments on the medial aspect (inside) of the ankle are larger and stronger than the lateral (outside), and although less commonly injured, they are a little slower to heal. As with lateral ankle sprains initial treatment is aimed at protecting the joint, and limiting swelling. As the pain improves your physio will mobilise your ankle to regain your movement, then advise you on the strengthening and balance exercises to get you back to normal as soon as possible.