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Ankle

The lateral (outer) ligaments

titleAnkle injuries are very common among athletes of all types, and lateral ligament damage is the usual suspect. If you don't look after the injury from the begining the road to recovery can be quite long. R.I.C.E. is a good start as this will limit the damage done and will then speed up the recovery process.

Ankle ligament damage is classified in grades dependant upon the severity of the damage.

Grade one : Minor damage or tearing to the ligaments, it may be a little painfull to walk on and there may be swelling.

Grade two : Moderate damage or tearing to the ligaments, this may be very painfull and may be imposible to walk on without help. It may be swollen and bruised, the bruising may show its self in the sole of the foot as the blood runs to the lowest point.

Grade three : Severe damage to ligaments possibly severed and requiring surgery to re-attach the ligament. There would also be instability due to the ligment no longer holding part of the foot to the ankle. While the initial pain may be severe it may fade quickly due to nerve damage.  

Recovery - this information is for guidance only and all injuries should be assessed by a trained professional   

When the pain is bearable you should start moving the foot to ensure the ankle does not become stiff, it will also help to reduce the swelling . Start slowly and build it up untill you have a full range of movement.  

Taping and straps 

Taping the ankle can be a usefull way of speeding up load bearing (walking on it) while giving support and a little compression. This will help the recovery process and enable you to get around without making the injury worse. Taping should only attempted by trained professional, if one is not available a good quality brace can be used (see web link to firstaid4sport)

Treatment    

Following R.I.C.E. the treatment can start;  deep oscillation or ultrasound and cross friction massage  work well for ankle ligaments and the calf muscle will need treatment as it usually tightens up following an ankle injury.

Rehabilitation   

It is important to strengthen the damaged ligaments befor full training starts and there are a numer of good exersizes that will help get you back to full fitness

  1. Balance on the injured leg and when you master this try closing your eyes you will be suprised how hard this is.
  2. Next try raising onto your toes and walk taking baby steps.
  3. Next try walking on your heals once again taking baby steps.
  4. When you have mastered the exersizes above try walking on the outside of your feet and then the inside (if it hurts revert back to 1 to 3) untill you are ready, you will look a little odd doing this but it helps

     

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