How Do I Treat A Lateral Ankle Sprain?
What Is A Lateral Ankle Sprain?
A lateral ankle sprain occurs typically when the foot rolls inwards. This motion places the ligaments that support the outside of the ankle on stretch. When this occurs too quickly or with too much force that we can’t counteract with our muscles, the ligament can stretch too far causing tears in the fibers. The grading system for ligament sprains are as follows:
Grade I: Stretching or slight tearing of the ligament with mild tenderness
Grade II: Incomplete tear with moderate pain
Grade III: Complete Tearing of the ligament
How Does Physiotherapy Treat a Lateral Ankle Sprain?
An assessment will be made to pinpoint which ligament(s) are impacted by the injury and to come up with a treatment plan. With ankle sprains, you are typically looking around 4-12 weeks or longer, depending on the severity.
Treatment of ankle sprains should NEVER involve complete rest. An important concept is load management. You can’t load it too much and you can’t offload it all together, there has to be a balance of the 2 to speed up the healing process. In the acute stages this is very important. You may need some crutches, a cane, brace, or a walking boot to help manage the load going through the foot and ankle.
Most often you should start with gentle movements of the ankles and toes. This helps pump the swelling that may occur and these movements and loads progress as more healing starts to occur. Ideally you would want to continue as much of your strength training routine as possible. This includes training the opposite limb and supporting musculature such as the upper body, core, and hips.
Balance exercises should be included as well. One of a ligaments main job is to relay information to the brain to tell us where we are in space (proprioception), after a sprain, this becomes impacted so balance exercise act to recalibrate this feedback mechanism.
Hands-on therapy can include range of motion, soft tissue techniques,joint mobilizations,neuromobilizations and gentle movements to help with bloodflow, reducing swelling and improving mobility of the foot and ankle.
Each individual case is different with everyone having their own goals to attain. If you have any questions or concerns regarding an ankle sprain, please contact us at 902-425-3775 or at [email protected] to chat with one of our Practitioners.