Ankle sprains are very common injuries. This injury occurs when the foot twists beyond normal movement range causing overstretching or tearing of the ligaments. People like athletes or anyone who runs or performs any kind of physical activities are prone to ankle sprains. Accidents or falls can occur anytime and are also the cause of ankle injuries.
Ankle sprains can take a few weeks to heal with the help of some painkillers and rest. However, some sprains can be more serious, and if not taken care of can lead to lifelong problems.
In this article we will discuss how to treat ankle pain and why physiotherapy can be useful.
What is Ankle Sprain?
Ankle sprain occurs when there is an injury to a ligament of the ankle. Ligament is a connective tissue that attaches bone to bone. This tissue helps in keeping the ankle joint stable, secure and enables the ankle to perform various movements.
Here are the 3 main sets of ligaments that keep the ankle stable:
Lateral ligaments – There are three lateral ligaments which are on the outside of the ankle. Injury to these ligaments is called a lateral ankle sprain and it is the most common form of injury.
Medial ligaments – There are four medial ligaments which are on the inner side of the ankle. Injury to these is called medial ankle sprain.
Ankle Syndesmosis – These are three ligaments on the top of the ankle which connect to the two bones of the shin. Injury to these ligaments is called high ankle sprain.
Injury to any of these ligaments can lead to ankle sprain causing pain, swelling and restricted movement. Various types of ankle sprain have different ranges of severity. The best way to find out how severe your ankle injury is, is to consult your doctor.
Symptoms of Ankle Sprain
Ankle sprain symptoms can vary depending on your injury. However, if you sustained an ankle injury then it will commonly look like this:
- Intense pain in the ankle and around the ankle area
- Difficulty in movement
- Inability to put your weight on the ankle
- Difficulty standing or walking
- Losing balance on uneven surfaces
Tips to Deal with Ankle Sprain
When you injure your ankle, you will experience pain. It’s important to pay attention to your ankle once you have sustained the injury. You should immediately stop putting pressure on your ankle as this may aggravate the injury. First, check if you can put your weight on the ankle to rule out the possibility of a fracture. If the pain is unbearable then you should consult the doctor immediately.
To heal your ankle, you can do the RICE method.
Rest – Rest your ankle without putting too much pressure on it.
Ice – Use ice to help ease the swelling.
Compression – Ensure that you wrap a bandage around your ankle to avoid bending it further.
Elevation – Keep your ankle elevated as much as possible.
Doing this everyday can gradually help ease the pain, swelling and restore movement to your ankle. This can work for less severe sprains and your ankle will be healed in a few days. But sometimes these injuries can get severe, cause extreme discomfort, and take very long to heal. In such cases it is best to consult a doctor who can diagnose your injury and suggest proper treatment.
How Can Physiotherapy Help with Ankle Pain?
Physiotherapy can be very useful to heal ankle pain, especially the more severe ones. If you consult a doctor, they will most likely recommend physiotherapy to treat ankle sprains. Here are some ways how physiotherapy can help deal with ankle sprain.
Exercises to improve ankle strength, restore movement and flexibility to your ankle. Physiotherapists will show you the correct way to do all the recommended exercises. Exercise is an important factor for healing your ankle.
Manual therapy for the ankle to promote circulation and relieve any pressure on the affected tissues.
A physiotherapist may also recommend braces for your ankle depending on the severity. This helps immobilize the ankle and prevent further injury.
Physiotherapists also educate patients on the recovery process.
Is Physiotherapy Needed for Ankle Sprain?
Sometimes an ankle injury can seem minor, but it may take a toll on your ankle. If you go on without the right treatment it can keep getting worse overtime and may result in a more serious injury. The injury you have sustained can make your ankle weak and more susceptible to another ankle injury. This may lead to a serious problem which may even require surgery. Even after you heal from an ankle sprain, the pain can crop up anytime and cause discomfort.
To prevent future injuries, it is a good idea to go for physiotherapy. When you get physiotherapy treatment in the early stage of your injury, you can prevent a more serious sprain or injury later. If you have an ankle sprain that is taking longer to heal or if the pain flares up anytime even after healing, it is best to consult a physiotherapist.
You can book a physiotherapy appointment with us here.