Ankle injuries? Colac Physiotherapist, Grant Brauer, has you covered!

Treat your ankle injury with the respect it deserves


Football and netball seasons are now upon us so our attention turns to those injuries that are synonymous with those sports. Ankle injuries are very common amongst footballers and netballers due to the high intensity nature of the sport and the demand for sudden change of direction.


In this blog we’re going to look at these injuries in a little more detail, the importance of completing a full rehabilitation talk about how Physiotherapy can help.


Ankle Joint Anatomy



Ankle injuries occur frequently in high intensity sports where sudden change of direction, such as football, netball, basketball etc., is often required. The most common outcome of an ankle injury is damage (spraining) to one or more of the ligaments, but the injury can also result injury to the joint surfaces (cartilage damage or bruising), bones (fracture or bruising), muscles and tendons or other soft tissues around the ankle joint.


What does a typical ankle sprain look like?


Determining which tissues have been injured often depends on which type of ankle injury has occurred.


1. Inversion Injuries

This is by far the most common type of ankle injury and usually results in an injury to ligaments on the lateral (outside) aspect of the ankle.

2. Eversion Injuries

This mechanism of ankle injury can lead to injury to the ligaments on the medial (inside) aspect of the ankle.

3. Plant and twist

This type of force through the ankle joint can lead to injury to the ligaments higher up in the ankle joint and between the ankle end of the tibia and fibula (shin bones). This can in turn lead to injury of the sheet of connective tissue that divides the front and back of your leg called the syndesmosis.


Our Colac Physiotherapist is trained to accurately diagnose which structures have been injured in order to provide the best possible treatment.


What can I do to help myself if I injure my ankle?


Managing the pain and inflammation in the hours and few days post ankle injury is really important. The quicker an athlete can get on top of these two things the quicker they can start the process of rehabilitation with their Physiotherapist.

Some simple methods of reducing swelling and inflammation are:




Rest – Stop the activity that caused your injury

Ice – On the injury site for approximately 20 minutes every 2 hours for the first 48-72         hours

Compression – Such as a compression bandage or compression tubing

Elevation – Resting with the injured ankle above the level of the heart will limit unnecessary bleeding

Referral – Book in to see your Physiotherapist as soon as possible for a thorough assessment and to develop a plan to help you return to sport safely and prevent recurrence of the injury.


Do not do’s


While you are doing these things it’s important to avoid the following things:


Heat – Adding heat to the ankle will likely make it bleed more and prolong the acute phase of your recovery.

Alcohol – Alcohol is what is known as a vasodilator, which means that it opens up the blood vessels which again will lead to more unnecessary bleeding.

Running/exercise – Too much unnecessary movement once again promotes blood flow and therefore unnecessary bleeding and inflammation.

Massage – Anything more than a very gentle massage to the injured ankle runs the risk of promoting more acute damage and blood flow.


How does Physiotherapy help with recovery from ankle injury?


Physiotherapists are experts in assessing, diagnosing and treating all ankle injuries. Our Colac Physiotherapist has over a decade of experience dealing with ankle injuries sustained by local athletes playing sport.


Assessment and diagnosis


As mentioned above it’s important to properly assess and diagnose the type and severity of an ankle injury in order to provide an accurate time frame for a return to play and also to ensure that the right exercises and advice are provided at the right times. It is also important to identify any deficits in ankle function and performance that may predispose the individual to further ankle injuries or injuries to other parts of the lower limb. 


Joint Stability


The recovering ankle ligaments and joint surfaces need to be protected and supported while they recover from their injury so that they can perform their stabilising role as effectively as possible into the future. This can be achieved through the use of tapes and braces. It may also be necessary to modify weight bearing during the early stages of recovery by using crutches, however it must be noted that research suggests that recovery tends to be better and quicker when weight bearing and mobility is commenced as early as possible.


Balance and Proprioception


Some people continue to reinjure their ankle even after their ligament injuries have healed really well. This is often likely because their sense of balance and proprioception has not returned to normal. Proprioception is our ability to sense what position a body part is in or joint sense awareness. Our brain uses this information to gain a sense of where our joints are in relation to each other. In particular we use this ability to get a sense of where our foot and ankle is in relation to the ground surface.


Really good ankle rehabilitation involves graded balance exercises to ensure that the sense of proprioception at the ankle joint returns so that the ankle will cope with the distraction and intensity of a return to sport. 


Range of movement


Physiotherapists can help the ankle regain full range of movement either through the prescription of exercises or via the use of massage and joint mobilisation techniques as part of treatment sessions. 




Exercises are usually prescribed in order to help the muscles and tendons return to full strength post injury.


Graduated return to activity/return to sport 


Building and then crossing the bridge from rehabilitation to a safe return to sport can be tricky. Our Physiotherapist has vast experience in helping local athletes navigate this transition with confidence with a focus not only on recovery but also performance on the field.


Don’t let ankle injuries prevent you from achieving your movement or sporting goals. Make an appointment with our experienced, local Colac Physiotherapist, Grant Brauer by contacting us at Prosper Health Group Colac on (03) 5290 5238. Alternatively you can book online today