Having an ankle sprain is an unfortunately common injury, and countless people suffer from sprains each year. Some people do not always realize the extent of their injuries, especially right after it happens. They may continue to walk on their ankle in an attempt to “walk it off”, which could lead to the injury becoming even more problematic. When you have what you believe might be an ankle sprain, you are going to want to take weight off the injured area right away. You will want to contact a physical therapist to get you back on your feet quickly.
What Causes Ankle Sprains?
The ankle is one of the most important joints in the body, but it also suffers quite a bit of abuse. When people are running, hiking, jumping, and even just walking down the street, there is a possibility of twisting the ankle and injuring it. Sports, and simply tripping and falling, are some of the most common reasons for sprains and the subsequent need for physical therapy.
The sprain happens when there is too much plantar flexion and inversion – when the toes point inward. Tears in the ligaments then occur. Often the tear takes place in the anterior talofibular ligament, or the ATFL, but tears can occur in other ligaments as well, such as the CFL and the PTFL. CFL stands for the calcaneofibular ligament, and PTFL stands for posterior talofibular ligament. These ligaments are very important, as they are what help to keep your ankle in place. In an ankle sprain, the ligaments can overstretch and tear and this is what the term ‘sprain’ refers to.
When you sprain your ankle, it is going to cause pain, which is often immediate. You will also notice swelling in the ankle, and possibly some instability in the lateral ankle. You need to make sure that you heal your ankle properly so get into your physical therapist as soon as you can.
How Severe is the Tear?
Different terminology is used when determining the severity, or the grade, of the tear. A high-grade tear is more severe than a low-grade tear, which usually means a full tear versus a partial tear. Your physical therapist is going to be able to determine and explain the grade of your tear as well as what you will have to do to get healthy again.
Treatment for Ankle Sprains
You will want to treat your sprain right away. Initially, this means that you are going to want to rest the ankle, apply ice, compress the ankle gently, and elevate it to help control the swelling. This is the immediate treatment for a sprain, and your doctor may give you some medications to help you deal with the pain. Healing of the ankle can take about six weeks in most cases, but it could take longer. You might find quite a bit of stiffness in your joints, and the best course of action is going to be physical therapy. Proper therapy will ensure that you are able to get full range of motion to your ankle, and improve your balance while improving strength. Your physical therapist can do this, as well as ultrasound, electronic stimulation, soft tissue mobilization, and exercises.
If you’ve had a sprain, now is the time to contact the best physical therapists. Therapists at ActiveCare are waiting to help you with your therapy and recovery from the ankle sprain.