An ankle sprain is a very common injury in any sport and daily life. Most of the time, a sprain involves a minor injury to the lateral ligaments. This would involve a tear to the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) and/or the calcaneofibular ligaments (CFL).
Treatment For Minor And Major Ankle Injuries
In minor sprains, return to activity can be quick and recovery uncomplicated. RICE treatment (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) can be useful to reduce swelling and pain during recovery.
More serious ankle injuries may involve either a partial or full lateral ligament tear. In these situations, recovery may be prolonged and complications can develop.
It is useful to consult a foot and ankle or orthopaedic/sports doctor as well as a physiotherapist during rehabilitation and recovery. Read our media articles on persistent pain after an injury, and also on injury rehabilitation for more information.
Rehabilitation focuses on restoration of balance, power and motion. It is also important to monitor for a proper recovery. Should pain or instability persist or set in, especially after an adequate period of recovery (eg, 3 months), chronic ankle dysfunction may have occurred.
This is when normal function does not return after an initial injury. There may be persistent pain in the ankle or it may feel wobbly or unstable. These are indications for further investigations and treatment. See the section on chronic ankle pain.
Reconstruction through arthroscopic ligament surgery (Arthroscopic Brostrom)
After an ankle ligament injury, an estimated 20-40% of people can continue to experience pain or ligament instability. The joint may feel unstable or loose and may give way, particularly on uneven surfaces or during sports such as soccer or basketball.
Ankle ligament surgery can be a lasting means to restore stability and function. Today, it is also possible to reconstruct or repair the ligaments via a keyhole or minimally invasive technique. This is a procedure that Dr Tan Ken Jin has been using since the beginning of 2013 with excellent results.