You’ve sprained your ankle and it hurts. You’ve put ice on it and it still hurts. You are using crutches and it still hurts. You even wrapped it with an ace bandage. Now what? Ankle sprains are painful. And the worse the injury, the more the pain. But understanding how to rehab ankle sprains can greatly reduce the painful time and get you back in action sooner.
Most ankle sprains occur during sports activity when the foot is twisted on the leg. This causes the ligaments around the ankle to be stretched or torn, thus causing swelling, bruising and pain. Fracture of the ankle bones can occur as well. First things first…stop your activity, rest and apply ice as soon as possible. Elevating the leg and wrapping the ankle with an Ace bandage will help control the swelling. If you cannot walk without significant pain, use crutches. Taking anti-inflammatories like aleve, advil or ibuprofen with help with swelling and pain. If your pain does not drastically improve over 2-3 days, a visit to your local podiatrist is next. If the sprain is severe, seek immediate treatment at a local emergency room.
So what are we looking for when you come in our office? First thing we want to know, "did you break a bone?". If not, then our next step is getting that ankle moving as quickly as your pain tolerates to reduce instability of the ankle. Rehabilitating an ankle sprain is the most important part of getting back to normal. This starts with home range of motion exercises, rest and wearing proper shoe gear. Notice I said nothing about returning to high heels or flip flops! Next, expect ankle pain to be present 3-6 weeks depending on severity, but this can be lessened by attending physical therapy. Professional physical therapy services provide multiple modalities that can reduce your pain, increase your range of motion and increase your ankle stability, thus reducing your likelihood of another ankle sprain. Physical therapists can perform things like ultrasound, cold laser therapy, positional joint release and deep massage to help get you back to your old self again. Often ankles that have previously been sprained, and did not properly rehab, require surgery several months later,. If you just injured your ankle, don’t wait months for it to get better. Start the rehab today. The physicians at Foot and Ankle Associates of North Texas are happy to help you in the process.