Ankle Sprains – what are they and how are they treated?

Manchester United’s Harry Maguire injured his ankle on May 9th when he rolled his ankle while challenging for the ball vs Aston villa. What type of injury has Harry Maguire suffered and what treatment will he need to recover?

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What is an Ankle Sprain?

An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments that support the ankle stretch and can tear. Ankle sprains are common injuries that can occur at any age. They range from mild to severe, depending upon how much damage is caused to the ligaments. Most sprains are minor injuries that heal with first aid treatments like rest and applying ice. However, if the ankle is very swollen and painful to walk on and if it is difficult putting weight on the ankle then it is a good idea to see a doctor.

Without proper treatment and rehabilitation, a more severe sprain can weaken the ankle making it more likely that it will injure again. Recurrent ankle sprains can lead to chronic (long term) ankle pain, arthritis, and repetitive instability (giving way).

Causes of an Ankle Sprain

The foot can twist during a variety of activities such as walking or exercising on an uneven surface, in sports that require rolling and twisting of the foot: trail running, basketball, tennis and football, and during sports injuries: another player may step on the foot or tackle causing the foot to twist or roll to the side.

What are Ligaments?

Ligaments are bands of tough elastic tissue (like a rope) that connect bones to other bones. The ankle ligaments help to keep the bones making up the ankle joint in proper position and stabilise the joint. Most ankle injuries affect the lateral ligaments which are found on the outer of the ankle. Sprains can range from stretching of the fibres that make up the ligament to complete tears.

If there is a complete tear of the ligaments, the ankle may become unstable (give way) after the initial injury phase passes. Over time, this instability can result in damage to the bones and cartilage of the ankle joint.

Symptoms of Ankle Sprains

A sprained ankle is usually painful and swollen. There may also be bruising, tenderness to touch and it may be difficult to put weight through or stand on the foot. More severe ankle injuries can cause fractures or even a complete dislocation of the ankle joint in which case it is very important to seek medical attention.

If you think you have an ankle sprain and you need treatment and medical attention, get in touch with our team to book a free 15-min call and find out how we can help with your recovery.

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