When you sprain your ankle , you stretch one or more of the three main ligaments that hold the joint together. If you don’t treat the sprain properly, the fibres in these ligaments can heal in an inappropriately shortened or lengthened position, leaving you prone to further injury.
Indeed, up to 30 per cent of people who sprain their ankles develop ‘chronic ankle instability,’ leading to a cycle of repeated injury.
If you turn your ankle and can’t walk on it at all — or even put weight on it — consult an orthopaedician to rule out severe ligament damage and broken bones.
If you can walk without excruciating pain, wrap your ankle with a compression bandage to reduce swelling, and get off your feet. Keep your ankle elevated as much as possible for 48 hours, applying ice for 20 minutes every two hours.
Even after the, pain and swelling are gone, don’t consider yourself fully healed,’ says surgeon Dr John Kennedy, of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York; ‘to make sure you don’t reinjure your ankle, you need to strengthen it.
‘ Kennedy recommends a regimen of balance-improving exercises, including this one:
Stand flat on one foot, with the opposite leg bent at the knee, then switch legs and repeat. Begin by brushing your teeth while standing flamingo-style for 30 seconds; work up to 3 minutes per leg.
This should strengthen your ankle and hopefully prevent any future injury.
Consult a orthopaedic surgeon for advice and further management