July 26, 2017
A strain of the lateral ligament of the ankle is one of the most common injuries of not only athletes but of the general population too. However it should not be assumed therefore that “it will get better by itself”.
Health professionals who understand the anatomy and biomechanics of the ankle and foot are well-placed to advise the patient on the best care. They will also be able to take action early if there are complications such as continuing pain or instability.
A first-time, Grade 1 lateral ligament strain should respond well to a rehabilitation programme. This would involve early management of pain and swelling, and then a graded exercise programme which progresses to balance and co-ordination skills, and finally to everyday activities or sport.
A one-off Grade 2 strain may also recover completely with the correct care. However a complete ligament rupture or Grade 3 injury will need surgical repair.
Other complications of ankle strain may include medial ligament (inside aspect of the ankle) strain or rupture, tendon dysfunction, mid-foot or hind-foot joint problems, nerve injuries, to name some.
The rehabilitation should be based on what is found on examination and would include muscle strengthening, joint mobilisation, balance and gait training. Muscle control of the entire lower limb (including around hip and knee) should be addressed. In fact the core muscle support of the spine could well be an essential part of the exercise programme.
So be advised by your doctor and physiotherapist and consistently keep up your rehabilitation exercises until you are able to perform at your normal levels of activity.