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Talk to me about... Ankle Strains

A physiotherapist helping to rehab a patient's ankle

Ankle strains are one of the most common injuries that people experience. As a physiotherapist, I have seen numerous cases of ankle strains in my practice. In this blog post, I will explain the causes, symptoms, and treatment of ankle strains.

Causes of Ankle Strains

Ankle strains occur when the ligaments in the ankle are stretched or torn. Ligaments are bands of tissue that connect bones to each other. Ankle strains usually occur when the ankle is twisted or turned in an unnatural way. This can happen during physical activities such as running, jumping, or playing sports. Ankle strains can also occur from simple everyday activities such as walking on an uneven surface or wearing high heels.

Symptoms of Ankle Strains

The symptoms of ankle strains can vary depending on the severity of the injury. Mild ankle strains may cause mild pain and swelling, while more severe strains can cause significant pain, swelling, and bruising. Other symptoms of ankle strains include difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected ankle, stiffness in the ankle joint, and a popping or tearing sensation at the time of injury.

Treatment of Ankle Strains

The treatment of ankle strains depends on the severity of the injury. In mild cases, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) can be effective in reducing pain and swelling. RICE involves resting the affected ankle, applying ice to the injury for 20-30 minutes at a time, compressing the ankle with an elastic bandage, and elevating the ankle above heart level. Over-the-counter pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can also be helpful in managing pain.

For more severe ankle strains, physiotherapy is often required. Physiotherapy involves a variety of treatments, including exercises to improve strength and flexibility, manual therapy to mobilize the ankle joint and soft tissues, and modalities such as ultrasound or electrical stimulation to reduce pain and swelling.

In some cases, ankle strains may require immobilization in a cast or brace to allow the ligaments to heal properly. Severe ankle strains may require surgery to repair or reconstruct the damaged ligaments.

Prevention of Ankle Strains

Prevention of ankle strains involves proper footwear, strengthening exercises, and taking precautions during physical activities. It is important to wear shoes that fit properly and provide adequate support for the foot and ankle. Strengthening exercises can help to improve the stability of the ankle joint, reducing the risk of injury. During physical activities, it is important to warm up properly and use proper technique to reduce the risk of injury.

In conclusion, ankle strains are a common injury that can cause significant pain and discomfort. If you suspect that you have an ankle strain, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible to prevent further damage and ensure proper healing. With proper treatment and prevention measures, you can reduce your risk of ankle strains and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.

If you need help with an ankle strains or other injury, book a session at Front Foot Physiotherapy and let us undertake a full assessment. If you just want to discuss your treatment options, feel free to email us at

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