The foot and ankle is a complex structure consisting of 28 bones, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons. It is designed to propel the body forward, backwards and sideways, respond to forces from the ground during gait and adapt to changes in the surface on which we are walking/running. The ligaments of the ankle exist to provide passive stability and proprioception – awareness of where the joint is. The main ligaments on the lateral (outside) aspect of the ankle are the anterior talofibula ligament, posterior talofibula ligament and the calcaneofibula ligament. The medial joint is stabilised by a group of 6 ligaments collectively known as the deltoid ligament.
The muscles and tendons that cross the ankle joint provide proprioceptive input, active stability and aid in propulsion. The large muscles that form the calf – Gastrocnemius and Soleus – attach to the heel via the Achilles tendon. The muscles that cross the lateral ankle are the Peroneus Longus and Brevis. Tibialis Posterior, Flexor Hallucis Longus and Flexor Digitroum Longus are the muscles that cross the medial ankle. In addition, three main nerves cross the ankle joint – Common Peroneal Nerve, Posterior Tibial Nerve and Sural Nerve.
Any one of these structures can be damaged during an ankle sprain. However, due the shape and orientation of the bones that form the ankle, the most common injuries occur on the outside of the ankle joint.
Early management including rest, ice, compression, elevation and referral to Physiotherapy are essential to minimise further damage and facilitate recovery.
Following a comprehensive assessment, your Physiotherapist will determine the structures involved and the degree to which they have been injured. Following on from the assessment, your physiotherapist will then be able to design a treatment plan to ensure a rapid return to function. Treatment may include, taping or bracing, joint mobilisation, soft tissue mobilisation, neural mobility exercises and an exercise program to restore strength and proprioception across the joint.
For advice about ankle rehabilitation in Cannington, Queens Park, East Cannington, Roleystone, Forrestfield and Bentley or to make an appointment contact Carousel Physiotherapy today.