What we’ll cover
How do I know if I’ve sprained or fractured my ankle?
Ankle sprains are typically a traumatic injury involving a specific incident. This can include rolling the ankle in an inwards or outwards direction. Sports which involve jumping and change of direction such as basketball, netball, football, and tennis leads people to be vulnerable to an ankle sprain. Our physiotherapist Laura Scott examines the best approach to how to manage and determine if you have an ankle sprain or fracture.
The severity of an ankle sprain can vary greatly from person-to-person depending on the mechanism or cause of injury. Following an ankle sprain, you may experience pain, increase in swelling, bruising and/or difficulty walking/weightbearing on the affected limb.
One of the most common questions we get when a client presents with an ankle sprain is “Is it broken? Do I need to get an x-ray?” Whilst further imaging can be useful in some cases, utilising a thorough assessment can reduce the need to perform unnecessary investigations.
The Ottawa Ankle Rules were established to determine whether a x-ray is indicated following an ankle injury. It is a screening tool developed to rapidly triage ankle sprains and avoid unnecessary imaging.
A patient who presents with 0 of the symptoms, is less than 1% likely to have a fracture of the foot or ankle.
The five components on the test include:
1. Tenderness over the lateral malleolus and distal 6cm of fibula
2. Tenderness over the medial malleolus and distal 6cm of the tibia
3. Bony tenderness at the base 5th metatarsal
4. Bony tenderness at the navicular
5. Inability to weight-bear both immediately after injury and take 4 steps
What to do if you have sprained your ankle?
Immediately following an ankle sprain, the best acute management it to implement the RICER principles.
- Ice (15-20mins at time)
- Compression to assist with swelling management
- Elevation (above the level of the heart to prevent pooling of swelling)
- Refer (book into a physiotherapist to get assessed ASAP)
Your physiotherapist will perform a thorough assessment. Whilst pain will decreased quickly, ankle rehabilitation targeted at improving proprioception and stability have been shown to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.
If you have sprained your ankle, book online or call our friendly team today.