The ankle is one of the most important joints in the body and subsequently when it goes wrong, it has a massive impact on how we move and can cause wide ranging pain from the knees up to the neck. We can injure our ankles in many different ways, but the most common injuries tend to occur from landing incorrectly onto the foot, causing the foot to excessively evert or invert (turn outwards or inwards). This movement, normally with force behind it from the impact of the descent of the foot can cause the tissues supporting the ankle to over stretch anatomically and damage.
Many people are unsure of the difference between an ankle strain or ankle sprain. A strain is damage to the muscle or tendons that support the joint, and depending on the severity can take from one week to several weeks to heal, recommended NHS guidelines call for resting the joint as well as elevating the foot and using ice to control the swelling. An ankle sprain is damage to the ligaments supporting the ankle and again depending on the severity can take from one to several weeks to heal, however recommendations are different from an ankle strain, as ligaments do not have an independent blood supply, they heal faster when the joint is kept moving rather than rested.
Other common injuries that can affect the ankle can be restrictions in the movements of the bones of the foot, for which manual manipulation by an osteopath or chiropractor is recommended, Achilles tendonitis or tendonopathy, which is inflammation of the Achilles heel for which stretching, manual therapy and rehabilitation exercises will help and any damage to the calf muscles, either through pulling or straining the muscles, thereby affecting the movement and function of the ankle, which should be treated as any damaged muscle, primarily with rest and then rehabilitation exercises.