When the ankle is twisted or rolled, a common injury that can result is an ankle ligament tear. Numerous ligaments in the ankle help to stabilise and support the joint. Depending on how badly the ligaments have been damaged, ankle ligament tears can range in severity from mild to severe. They have several grades – all of which have differing recovery times.
Recovery from ankle ligament damage will benefit greatly from physiotherapy. The purpose of physiotherapy is to strengthen and stabilise the injured ankle while reducing pain and swelling, restoring range of motion, and improving strength.
Depending on the extent of the injury, the therapy for an ankle ligament tear may vary, however it often entails the following stages:
- Reduce Pain and Swelling, Protect the Ankle Joint, and Restore Range of Motion are the Goals of the Acute Phase of Rehabilitation. Hands on treatment, such as deep massage, shockwave or mobilisations, will be utilised here and is vital.
2. Strengthening Exercises: To enhance muscle stability and function around the ankle joint, the second phase concentrates on strengthening exercises. This could involve strengthening workouts for the ankle’s eversion and inversion as well as dorsiflexion and plantarflexion.
3. Proprioception and Plyometric Training: To enhance neuromuscular control and lower the risk of reinjury, proprioception and plyometric training are part of the third phase of rehabilitation. Exercises like single-leg balancing, agility drills, and jumping may be introduced.
4. Sport or Hobby Specific Training: To prepare the patient for a safe return to their pre-injury level of activity, lifestyle-specific training is part of the rehabilitation process’ final phase. Exercises that mimic the demands of their sport or hobby and gradually get harder over time might be a part of this.
The injured ankle joint will experience less pain and have better range of motion with the use of manual treatment techniques like massage, joint mobilization, and soft tissue mobilisation. You will also recover quicker with physiotherapy intervention.
Education is a crucial component of physiotherapy for an ankle ligament tear since it can assist the patient in understanding their condition and discovering ways to avoid it in the future. We can assess and gauge severity and recovery times too.
We can help with any ankle sprain – whether it occurred from a misstep or through high level sports trauma. Even if you’re not an athlete – recovering correctly from an ankle sprain/tear – is vital to long term foot and ankle health!
Recovery Triumph: Molly
Molly, a dedicated Rugby player, who serves as an inspiring testament to the transformative power of physiotherapy.
The Challenge: An Ankle Tear
In the midst of pursuing athletic excellence, Molly faced a significant setback – an ankle tear that threatened to derail not only training but also dreams of England qualification. The injury brought with it not just physical pain, but the mental and emotional strain that often accompanies setbacks for high-performance athletes. But this can be mirrored for anyone – pain and loss of movement has such a huge impact on us mentally – not just physically.
The Intervention: Expert Physiotherapy at Achieve Health
Enter Achieve Health, as Molly had seen us before, she knew to come quickly – as the sooner intervention starts, the quicker your recovery can be. The personalized approach began with a comprehensive assessment, identifying the specific nuances of the injury and crafting a tailored rehabilitation plan.
Molly had suffered a Grade 2 ATFL tear (Anterior talofibular ligament). This can usually range from a 6 week to 12-week recovery period. With risk of reinjury very high when not treated and rehabilitated properly. In many cases athletes can feel near normal at 4-6 weeks and rush back to their sport – to then suffer a reinjury or often a compensatory injury as the ligament will not be strong enough if you rush back.
Pain free doesn’t mean dysfunction free!
The Journey to Recovery:
The physiotherapy program designed for Molly wasn’t merely about addressing the immediate injury. It encompassed a holistic approach that included:
Targeted Exercises: Specialized exercises focused on strengthening the ankle, improving mobility, and enhancing overall stability.
Hands-On Techniques: We employed hands-on techniques to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and promote healing. Techniques such as deep soft tissue massage, shockwave, needling, cupping and mobilising all can be utilised as needed. This is a key stage that is often missed – hands on treatment will increase healing time and reduce pain from as early as the day after injury! Returning the ankle joint to its correct mechanical state is vital!
Educational Support: Molly was equipped with valuable insights into injury prevention, self-management, and optimized recovery strategies. She could complete not only our treatment sessions but work at home to speed her recovery such as heat treatment, mobility and S+C
Through unwavering commitment and the guidance of expert physiotherapists, Molly not only recovered from the ankle tear but emerged stronger and more resilient than ever before. Any imbalances and weaknesses we found along the way – were addressed.
She was back on the pitch in 8 weeks!
The carefully crafted physiotherapy plan expedited the recovery process, allowing Molly to return to training and make it in time for England Trials!