Lateral ankle ligament injuries (also known as inversion injuries) commonly occur when catching the heel on the edge of a step when descending stairs, twisting the ankle unexpectedly on uneven ground or when playing sports requiring rapid changes of direction such as football, rugby, basketball and netball. The stretching, twisting and/or tearing of the ligament results in a classic ankle sprain.
Ligaments are the strong bands of connective tissue which run through our joints to help provide strength and stability. The most important ligament complex of the ankle, the lateral ligament complex (on the outside of the ankle) provides the secondary support to the joint when the ankle rolls inwards (inverts).
How are lateral ankle ligament injuries treated?
Acute phase management
MICE = Movement, Ice, Compression, Elevation
Acute phase management is aimed at reducing swelling and alleviating pain to allow rehabilitation to commence as early as possible following injury.
The following self-help videos explain how to safely follow a MICE routine after an injury:
First line management requires a supervised rehabilitation program of exercises to ensure the ankle restores its full range of motion and to ensure appropriate grading of strengthening and co-ordination exercises are undertaken.
If you are having continued difficulty weight bearing please see your GP/healthcare professional as you may require an x-ray.
The following self-help videos are helpful to follow in the early stages after an injury to maintain flexibility and strength to the affected ankle joint: