Festive season is upon us!
Many of you will be having plenty of Christmas and New Year parties lined up for the next few months, and it is also in this period that we see typical injuries that happen mainly during dancing or after a couple of drinks! I’ll talk about the most common one we see, and hopefully it’ll remind you to stay safe and injury free over the next few months. Or, if you do get injured, you’ll know exactly what to do!
The most common injury we see is an ankle sprain. Ladies, high heels and alcohol do not mix well! Ankle sprains range from minor ones where the ligaments in the ankle get overstretched to severe ones where the ankle bones get broken, so try to keep those heels to a minimum, or kick them off before heading to the dance floor. It may also be a good idea to start training your ankle now!
The most common ankle sprain mechanism is an inversion sprain, where the ankle rolls inwards and the ligaments on the outside of your ankle are injured. Sometimes, the ankle in the deeper portion of your ankle or the connective tissue within your 2 leg bones can get injured, though these are more unlikely.
The acute management to remember is PRICE:
Protect the joint: strap, ankle brace and use crutches if you cannot tolerate weight on the ankle.
Rest: give the ankle a rest from the dancing, and see a healthcare professional if you cannot put weight on the ankle or if there is severe bruising and swelling. If weight bearing is a problem, you may need an X-ray to rule out any acute fractures and you may need to be put in a boot or cast to immobilise the ankle.
Ice: ice the ankle joint 15-20 minutes every 2-4 hours.
Compress: tubigrip or compression bandages around the ankle may help reduce the swelling.
Elevate: elevate your ankle on pillows above the level of your heart to help reduce the fluid in your ankle.
Ankle sprains have a high rate of recurrence, so it is advisable to see a Physiotherapist if:
· There is significant pain and swelling even though there is no fracture.
· Your ankle range is still restricted after 1-2 days.
· You experience any ankle instability such as feeling like your ankle rolls easily on uneven surfaces (even though there may be no actual sprain)
It is very important to have proper rehabilitation after an ankle sprain. Your Physiotherapist will work with you on getting back your ankle flexibility and strength to prevent the ankle sprain from becoming chronic, and also prevent future sprains.