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How to Manage a Sprained Ankle

Ever sprained your ankle? You must know how frustrating it can to not be able to walk, perform daily
activities and exercise properly! Read below to find more information about how you can best
understand your injury and how to help yourself to recover.
Severity of ankle sprains vary from a mild “twist” and stretch of ankle ligaments to complete
tear of ligaments and fractures of bones. The injury is graded as follows:

  • Grade I- some ligament fibers are stretched and a few may be torn. Mild pain and
    swelling may be experienced.
  • Grade II – Significant Stretch of the ligaments (can be more than 2 ligaments
    involved) with a larger tear, ligament is still intact. Moderate swelling, bruising and
    pain will be observed.
  • Grade III – Complete tear of at least 1 ligament, often 2 or 3 ligaments are damaged.
    Alongside ligament tear, muscle tear and fracture/bone damage is likely to occur.
    Severe swelling, bruising and pain will be present; you will be unable to weight- bear
    on that ankle for more than 5 steps. Grade III sprains often require immobilization
    and/or surgery.

Common ankle sprains do not result in fractures but can cause damage to the ligaments.
Although xrays are a good method for diagnosing bone fractures, they do not provide much
information about soft tissue and ligament injuries.
Experienced Podiatrists at ECHC in Reservoir can help diagnose the severity through physical
examination and reduce exposure to unnecessary radiation of xrays.

Treatment:

Treatment of ankle sprains varies depending on the grade of sprain, so please seek medical
advice from one of our experienced healthcare Podiatrists.

Acute Stage

  • Ice- Immediately after an injury- ice the area for 20 minutes and continue icing (10
    minutes at a time when pain is present) for the next 3 days.
  • Anti- inflammatory gels and tablets can be utilized.
  • Rest and Elevate the injured foot. Avoid pain causing activities for at least a week.
  • Compression bandage – Your podiatrists will likely tape the ankle using the figure 8
    technique. Compression sleeves can also be utilized.
  • Avoid using heat packs after injury as this can increase the inflammation and damage
  • Avoid massage immediately after a sprain.
  • Avoid running or extraneous activities until pain free.
  • Tailored exercise plan and rehabilitation will be needed post injury and will again
    vary depending on the degree of the injury.

Rehabilitation once swelling and acute pain has settled:

Rehabilitation is an important part of recovery as ligaments are fibrous tissue with poor
healing capacities. Without proper rehabilitation of the sprained ankle the risk of
reoccurrence is up to 70%.
Your Podiatrist will design a program that may include the following:

  • Range of motion exercises
  • Strengthening the structures and muscles around the injured ankle to prevent
    further injury.
  • Balance and stability exercises
  • Stretching – ankle and posterior leg musculature
  • Gradual return to exercise and training – paying attention to pain and discomfort.

For more information, see one of our trusted lower leg experts at Essential Chiropractic and
Health Care Clinic to ensure the right treatment plan can be customised.

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