Sprained Ankles: The Simple Truth

January 5, 2015

Sprained ankles are one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries. The basic issue is that the supporting ligaments of the ankle joint are torn. The severity depends on the number of ligaments torn and the residual stability of the ankle joint.

When an injury occurs, it is important to rule out the presence of a coexisting fracture. Tenderness to the bones forming the ankle joint can signal the potential of such fractures. Swelling and bruising is also extremely common. It is not unusual for the foot and ankle to turn “purple”. If in doubt, it’s always prudent to consult a physician.

Once a professional diagnosis of an ankle sprain has been made, the treatment focuses on rest, elevation, activity modifications, and then a gradual return to activities. Depending on the severity of the sprain and the pain, immobilization with a brace, boot, or even a cast may be necessary. However, once the swelling and pain subside, a stretching and ankle stabilization program is the key to recovery and prevention of future ankle sprains. In a recent systematic review of the literature, Terada and his co-authors found that “static stretching interventions with a home exercise program had the strongest effects on increasing dorsiflexion in patients two weeks after acute ankle sprains.” Their article can be found in the Journal of Athletic Training.

SimpleTherapy offers an individualized program of ankle range of motion and stretching exercises to get you back to your desired activities.

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