These case summaries are examples of real people treated here at the clinic (names changed for privacy). They are not an exhaustive study of the whole condition, merely an opportunity for you to see the sort of things that we have been able to help with in the past, and how we may be able to help you if you’re suffering a similar condition.
“I’ve sprained the same ankle several times now, it’s so frustrating that it seems to keep happening.”
Jodie (name changed for privacy), a 20 year old full time office worker and casual weekend soccer player, presented to the clinic with a recent ankle sprain which had become somewhat of a recurrent problem. She sustained the most recent injury during a soccer game on the weekend, following what she described as a “mild roll” of the ankle, not the degree of roll that she would think capable of causing the sort of symptoms she was experiencing.
Previous sprains of the same ankle appear to have left the supportive ligaments of the ankle lax & stretched, leaving the ankle susceptible to re-injury. She was finding it difficult to walk, and the ankle was visibly bruised and swollen.
The injury this time was a grade 2 sprain of the calcaneofibular ligament, a part of the lateral collateral ligament of the ankle. It is a commonly injured ligament in ankle sprains, particularly with inversion (or “rolling in”) sprains.
Treatment of this injury consisted of usig a compression bandage to decrease (and avoid continuation of) swelling, soft tissue massage to remove oedematous fluid (swelling) from the area, as well as some gentle mobilisations and self education on swelling management. Stability taping was also utilised.
Once the condition had improved a little more, we introduced some exercises for range of movement, strengthening and proprioception (balance). The proprioception exercises are crucial for improving the reflex stability of the joint to ensure the body reacts rapidly to any aberrations from the normal joint position to prevent re-injury.
After 3 sessions Jodie reported feeling “80% better” through her ankle. She could walk normally and was back to work again. Her balance had improved and she was able to pull her toes back equally on both sides and had a 10 degree difference when pointing her toes (which initially she couldn’t do the pointing movement at all). She was no longer limping. She was recommended to come back for some more rehab and proprioception exercises as this would decrease the risk of re-spraining her ankle.
She is still playing soccer happily to this day, and so far (touch wood!) hasn’t suffered any more sprains.
By Melissa Ramoo, physiotherapist & Pilates instructor