Common injury information sessions Episode II – “no I only sprained it, I’ll be right”

February 21, 2017

Last week we talked about strains and tears. This week it’s sprains and tears. What’s the difference? No idea, again, from what I can gather a tear means it completely stuffed. But a sprain is different to a strain in that a sprain can mean no injury at all, apparently.

For example

“What did you do to your ankle?”

“Nothing, just a sprain”

Confused? Me too.

Ligament is different to muscle. They are your seat belts in that they stop excess movement, to a point. Then they stretch. Then they tear a few fibres, then they tear lots of fibres, then they are completely torn.

This corresponds to Grade 1,2 and 3 and is normally decided by the percentage of fibres torn.

But ligaments don’t act independently of each other, like overlapping ropes. They are blended connective tissue that knit into tendons, joint capsules, bits of cartilage, lots of stuff.

When you injure them you are disrupting the integrity and stability of a joint. That is a big deal for your brain. Even if you think you are sweet, your nervous system doesn’t. Ligaments are chock full of nerves, that convey force and position messages to your brain.

If your ligaments don’t heal properly that system can’t recover. Even if they do heal properly, if you don’t retrain the nervous system to function on autopilot again you are prone to recurrence.


40% of first time ankle injuries end up with chronic ankle instability within 12 months.

That means they are left with a feeling of instability or the ankle will actually give way under load. Makes doing anything pretty hard.

Now why is that stat so high?

2 reasons

  1. More people need to come to Newcastle Performance Physio, obviously
  2. People think “sprains” aren’t serious and don’t manage them anywhere close to optimal.

I would rather break most bones in my foot and ankle (separately, not all together, far out man) than suffer some ankle sprains.

So painful, swollen, limping, bleeding, bruised, dicey, rolling ligament injuries, especially ankles, need to be seen to. Within days, not months (or years, or never at all)

Share this with your friend that has a “dodgy” ankle

Until next time

Episode III – “My shoulder dislocates all the time, but I can put it back”