Common Treatments For an Ankle Sprain
An ankle sprain is one of the most common injuries seen across all sports. It is therefore one of the most commonly treated injuries in an orthopedic clinic. But there may be things you can do at home prior to seeing a professional.
Lateral ankle sprains, meaning the outside of the ankle, are most common. This is partially due to the mechanism of injury- rolling the foot inward, making the outer portion become overstretched. The lateral side of the ankle does have several ligaments meant to stabilize it, but they are not as thick and strong as those on the inside of the ankle.
If you were to roll your ankle, the first thing to ask is the severity. If your ankle is quick to swell and/or bruise, this would be the first sign you may want to see a medical professional. Other reasons may be if you are unable to put weight on it, or if there is any point tenderness over the bony prominences of the foot or ankle. But, if you can make it past these checkpoints, you are likely to have a mild or moderate ankle sprain.
There are many treatments you can do to treat a mild ankle sprain at home. The first step is to care for the pain and inflammation. The common acronym R.I.C.E. can be very helpful- rest, ice, compression, elevation. The next step would be to regain any mobility that was lost. Pumping the ankle up, down, in and out, making circles, and spelling the ABC’s are ways to help the joint move and increase the blood flow to the area. It is important to force the ankle to work and limit help from the hip and knee. Once you have restored motion, the next step would be to increase strength and balance. Using a resistance band to work the ankle in all directions and raising the heels (calf raises) and the toes in either sitting or standing can be helpful for strengthening. Standing with one foot directly in front of the other (known as tandem stance), balancing on one leg, and balancing on squishy or unstable surfaces are excellent for challenging your balance. Many people ignore the balance component of training, but this is an important step in regaining awareness of how to react and adjust when our center of gravity is off. If we don’t teach our ankle how to react on both flat and uneven surfaces, it is more likely to re-roll again when going back to more challenging activities or surfaces. If you feel all the previous steps have been met, you may be ready to return to higher level activities like hiking, running and jumping. It is important to be gradual and progressive to see how your ankle, and the rest of the body reacts to these challenging tasks. You could use pain to guide how much activity is appropriate. Other helpful tips may include a lace up ankle brace and supportive sneakers.
A physical therapist may also use hands-on/manual techniques to reduce pain and restore motion and may have further insight on ways to challenge you and return to your prior level of function!
At the Centers For Advanced Orthopaedics- MMI Division we offer a variety of treatment options all tailored to the patient. We have telemedicine, same-day office appointments and extended hours to meet your every need. We know injuries happen when you least expect it. That's why we have Urgent Care hours Monday through Saturday. Visit mmidocs.com/ today to learn more. We are dedicated to helping you live your best life. Choose exceptional care close to home.