Treating Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries that happen to people, primarily happening while playing sports. High ankle sprains normally happen when a person rolls their ankle damaging the outside ligaments and the ligaments above the ankle joint which connect the tibia (shin bone) to the outer leg bone (fibula). Ankle sprains are graded from 1 to 3. Grade 1 is mildly stretching without joint instability. Grade 2 involved a partial rupture of the ligament w/moderate pain and swelling. Grade 3 involves full tear of the ligament with major pain, swelling, and functional limitations.

Treating a high ankle sprain first involves immobilizing the ankle, with a walking boot or brace, and reducing weight bearing, possibly with crutches, especially with more severe sprains. The initial focus of recovery is to reduce swelling by applying ice and compression, and elevating the leg.  The next step would be to regain range of motion. This can be done by joint mobilizations and having your ankle passively moved into ranges needed to be regained. Regaining range of motion can be performed by you but it is important not to overstretch ligaments causing further injury and swelling. As range of motion is improving, ankle strengthening should begin from light isometric and non weight bearing exercises to resisted and full weight bearing exercises. Balance and eventually more dynamic exercises such as speed, agility, and lateral exercises should be implemented to help prevent a reoccurrence of the injury.

High ankle sprains are usually caused by high impact performances, most seen in sports. It is a difficult injury to return from and should be cared for by a trained professional to progress healing and reduce risk of re-injury.

A full workout and progression can be made by your physical therapist. Your PT is also trained in manual therapy to help regain range of motion and reduce swelling in the foot and ankle. Contact one of the many skilled providers of Advanced PMR for more details on treatment or to book your appointment to be treated today!



Posted in: Ankle/ Foot

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