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  • Writer's pictureAndray Voronov

A Comprehensive Guide to Lateral Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprain rehab osteopathy narre warren
Lateral ankle sprains

Lateral ankle sprains are a common type of injury that occur when the foot is turned inwards and the outer ligaments of the ankle are stretched or torn. This can cause pain, swelling, and instability in the affected ankle, making it difficult to walk or perform daily activities. If left untreated, a lateral ankle sprain can lead to chronic instability and weakness in the ankle, increasing the risk of future ankle sprains and other injuries.

To ensure a full recovery from a lateral ankle sprain, it is important to follow the appropriate rehabilitation program. In recent years, the PEACE and LOVE protocol has been introduced as a comprehensive approach to managing ankle sprains, with positive results. In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment of lateral ankle sprains, as well as provide a step-by-step guide to the PEACE and LOVE protocol.

What is a Lateral Ankle Sprain?

A lateral ankle sprain occurs when the foot is turned inwards, stretching or tearing the outer ligaments of the ankle. This can occur as a result of an awkward landing from a jump, a sudden twist of the ankle, or stepping on an uneven surface. The severity of the sprain can vary, from a mild stretching of the ligaments to a complete tear.

Symptoms of a Lateral Ankle Sprain

The symptoms of a lateral ankle sprain can vary depending on the severity of the injury, but common symptoms include:

  • Pain and tenderness on the outer side of the ankle

  • Swelling and inflammation in the affected area

  • Bruising and discoloration around the ankle

  • Difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected foot

  • Instability in the ankle, leading to a feeling of "giving way"

Causes of Lateral Ankle Sprains

Lateral ankle sprains are most often caused by an awkward landing from a jump, a sudden twist of the ankle, or stepping on an uneven surface. Other risk factors for lateral ankle sprains include:

  • Wearing shoes that do not provide adequate support or cushioning

  • Participating in sports or physical activities that put a lot of stress on the ankles, such as basketball, soccer, or tennis

  • Having a history of ankle sprains or instability in the ankle

  • Weakness or imbalances in the muscles that support the ankle

Diagnosis of a Lateral Ankle Sprain

If you suspect that you have a lateral ankle sprain, it is important to seek medical attention. Your doctor will perform a physical examination of your ankle, assessing the range of motion, stability, and strength of the affected joint. They may also order imaging tests, such as X-rays or MRI, to determine the extent of the injury and rule out any underlying fractures.

Treatment for Lateral Ankle Sprains

The treatment for a lateral ankle sprain will depend on the severity of the injury, but the goal is to reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation, and promote healing.

Recently the medical world has begun to shift away from the old PRICE/RICE/RICER method and opt for a more holistic PEACE and LOVE approach.

  • Protect

    • Protect the area from further damage

  • Elevate

    • Keep the limb elevated to promote lymphatic drainage

  • Avoid anti-inflammatories

    • Research has shown that NSAIDs may prevent healing

  • Compression

    • Research is unclear if compression helps, but we know it won't do extra harm

  • Education

    • This is where it's our job to educate you on the natural healing and rehab process

  • Load

    • A stepped approach to increasing load on the ankle

  • Optimism

    • Patients have better outcomes when they stay positive about their recovery

  • Vascularisation

    • Pain-free cardio activities can help improve blood flow and speed healing

  • Exercise

    • Restore mobility and rebuild strength for an eventual return to sport

If you have more questions about your ankle sprain or if a loved one has recently suffered an ankle sprain, feel free to get in contact with us and visit us at our Narre Warren Osteopathic clinic by clicking this link here. You can also email us at or call us on 0493 031 231

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