Sprained ankles are very common and repeated sprains can lead to a swollen, painful ankle, problems walking on rough ground and the risk of re-injury. The physiotherapist begins with asking: How did the injury occur? Was there a high level of force involved? What happened afterwards – could the patient walk or did they go to hospital? Was there an x-ray?
The amount of pain the patient suffered after the injury is extremely important and if the level of pain is very high or if it doesn’t settle, there might be a fracture. Pain should settle with time and if not the physio will refer the patient back to the orthopaedic doctor. The areas of pain should match the mechanism of injury, indicate which structures might be injured and should be tested by the physiotherapist later.
Special questions are asked about the past medical history and previous injuries, any drugs the patient is taking, their appetite level, whether they are losing weight, their sleep quality and pain in the morning, their bladder and bowel normality and any relevant family history. This is to clear the patient of any serious underlying condition so that treatment can be safely performed.