Those Pesky Ankle Sprains

How many people out there have twisted their ankle?  I would say more than half of us have twisted our ankle at one time or another.  It may have been caused by landing on someone’s foot after coming down with a rebound, maybe cutting wrong on a soccer field, rounding one of the bases on a baseball field, or even slipping on the dreaded ice that has been around the hill country lately!  Whatever the cause, the result is still the same: swelling, tenderness, and pain around the ankle.

Ankle sprains can range from mild to severe.  On the outside of the ankle there are 3 large ligaments.  The most commonly injured ligament is the anterior talofibular ligament.  It is stretched or torn when the body lands on a foot that is pointed down and inward.  Some studies say as many as 95% of all ankle sprains are this type.   The body responds with quick, sharp pain especially with weightbearing.  Followed by bruising, tenderness, and swelling along the injured ligament.

What can I do for it?  Everyone should follow the simple PRINCE technique for the first 24-72 hours.

P: protection such as an air splint

R: rest or use crutches until you can walk without pain

I: ice for 10-20 minutes every hour for the first 24-72 hours

N: NSAIDS such as Advil or Motrin

C: compression such as an ACE bandage

E: elevation above your heart for 2-3 hours a day

If that doesn’t take care of your ankle, then you may need to head to your doctor for a proper diagnosis.  Your doctor will test all your ligaments, possibly order Xrays or MRI, but only if needed.  Your doctor may also order some physical therapy.  It has been shown that early mobilization/movement in a pain free range is the most important step to a quick recovery.  Simple ankle pumps, towel curls, and ABC’s can be started immediately. Your physical therapist will design an individual plan to restore your full active range of motion, improve your weightbearing tolerance, decrease your pain, increase your strength, improve your proprioception, and return you to your prior level of activities whether that is intense athletics or walking around your yard.

So, if you have a pesky ankle sprain and need some help, please call Kethley Physical Therapy . Stay tuned next month as we discuss how Kethley Physical Therapy is “Keeping Dripping Springs Moving!”