Physical Therapy for a Sprained Ankle
A sprain is an injury to one or more ligaments (with the equivalent injury to muscles and tendons being called a strain), and while sprains usually heal on their own and only need supportive treatment, they can still be very painful and inconvenient.
One of the most common injuries resulting from various everyday accidents is a sprained ankle (which can also be referred to as a twisted ankle or rolled ankle). You might lose your balance carrying groceries up the stairs, for example, and suffer a sprain in an instant. Athletes playing sports as varied as tennis, basketball, and football are also at risk for this type of sprain.
An injury like this can disrupt your daily life or take you off the field and make movement more difficult for more time than you’d like – but the right physical therapy plan can make the healing process faster, easier, and better.
At JAG Physical Therapy, the expert PTs on our staff are the tri-state area’s top regional specialists in treating ankle sprains. We work with you to develop a customized physical therapy plan for your foot and ankle, taking into account your lifestyle, preferences, and any athletic pursuits. Find your nearest JAG PT location, book an appointment today, or continue reading to learn more about how we treat ankle sprains.
Symptoms of an Ankle Sprain
A sprain is usually caused by sudden, violent movement of the affected joint. In the case of ankle sprains, this is usually a fast side-to-side motion, like a basketball or volleyball player or skateboarder, along with many other types of athletes, might perform. An ordinary accident like slipping on an icy step can also cause an ankle sprain.
The symptoms that occur when someone sprains their ankle vary with how severe the injury is. In general, there is inflammation that can result in redness and a sensation of heat in mild cases and heavy swelling in more severe cases. There will often be bruising and resultant decoloration, as well as throbbing pain that gets worse with pressure.
The most severe ankle sprains can cause a complete rupture of the ligament. When a ligament breaks in this way, the joint loses stability and cannot be walked on, and surgery might be required to repair it.
Diagnosis of an Ankle Sprain
Differential diagnosis is important in beginning to treat a sprained ankle – the physician must determine that it is in fact a sprain and not a muscle or tendon strain nor a broken bone. Imaging is not always necessary, but an MRI scan may be performed to determine the extent of damage to the ankle ligaments.
Ankle Sprain Treatment
Ankle sprains usually respond well to conservative treatment aimed at getting the symptoms to resolve more quickly, relieving pain, and restoring function and power to the joint. These may include rest, ice, heat, compression, and elevation in the immediate term, as well as over-the-counter medication.
Physical therapy can also be a very helpful treatment option – at JAG PT, we offer a range of therapeutic modalities including manual therapy and occupational therapy to help you heal your ankle and adapt to using it safely, as well as gait analysis and slip and fall prevention to help avoid future sprains.
Surgery for Ankle Sprains
Only the most extreme and severe sprains will need to be treated with surgical repair. Usually these are ligament ruptures, causing a complete separation between the pieces of tissue, but other types of sprains may also fail to heal normally. Surgical treatments may include reconstructing the ligament with a piece of a nearby ligament or tendon, and this reconstruction will need a proper therapeutic approach. Our pre- and post-operative PT program helps people undergoing surgery from the moment they are scheduled for it until they are completely recovered.
See a Physical Therapist to Treat an Ankle Sprain
Our convenient clinic locations throughout New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania serve local residents with the absolute best in physical therapy care. If you have an ankle sprain, don’t delay in reducing your pain and getting your full mobility back – contact JAG PT or book your initial appointment now.