The ankle is a hinge-type joint designed to withstand high loads during work, sport and everyday activities. It is highly susceptible to injury, especially sprains, resulting from medial or lateral displacement of the joint. This displacement, which occurs laterally in the majority of cases, due to an inversion and eversion movement, can cause injury to one or more ligaments. Sprains are classified
according to their severity:
– Grade 1 sprains – Ligament distention with mild inflammation occurs, complete stability is maintained, enabling loading and walking.
– Grade 2 sprains – A partial tear of the ligament occurs. Inflammation is immediate with ecchymosis. Instability while walking and loading, requiring a period of rest of about three weeks, incapacitating the patient for loading and walking.
– Grade 3 sprains – The most severe, resulting in the tearing of one or more ligaments. These sprains require at least eight weeks of healing.
Intense pain and inflammation with the presence of ecchymosis, varying degrees of incapacitation depending on the severity of the injury. In the case of grade 1 sprains, loading and walking is possible, while in the case of a grade 3 sprain.
Treatment should involve initial rest and immobilisation, followed by rehabilitation techniques appropriate to the severity of the injury, in conjunction with the use of orthotic devices with designs that provide the necessary functions for each case. Ranging from orthoses that provide complete immobilisation of the ankle joint on all of its planes, plantar flexion-extension, eversion-inversion, etc., to devices designed to offer compression, mediolateral stabilisation and heat, or those that feature traction straps to provide taping-type directional bandaging.
The patient can vary the tension and traction of the anti-varus-valgus straps, depending on the mechanical demands required in each situation. Their use is extremely important in sport as a preventative measure after a sprain has occurred to prevent recurrent injuries.