Did you know on a given day, more than 25,000 people will sprain their ankle? It can happen when you land the wrong way while playing sports or participating in other physical activities, it can even happen by stepping on an uneven surface while walking. It can happen to athletes, non-athletes, children, and adults.
What Is Ankle Sprain?
Sprains are injuries to ligaments, the "bands" that hold joints together. Ankle sprains occur when the foot twists or turns beyond its normal range of movement, causing the ligaments to stretch beyond their normal length. If the force is too strong, the ligaments may tear.
An ankle sprain can range from mild to severe, depending on how badly the ligament is damaged or how many ligaments are injured. An ankle sprain is given a grade from 1 to 3 depending on the amount of ligament damaged. A grade 1 sprain is mild, grade 2 is moderate, and grade 3 is severe.
Ankle sprains also are classified as acute, chronic, or recurrent:
Your physical therapist @ THERAPY1ONE can perform an evaluation to determine how unstable your ankle is and whether you are able to start physical therapy for your ankle or follow up with a medical doctor to determine if x-rays will be needed.
Our overall goal is to return you to the roles you perform in your everyday life as quick as we possibly can. By not contacting licensed professional serious problems—such as decreased movement, chronic pain, swelling, and joint instability—could arise, severely limiting your daily activities.
What would I do at therapy?
Range-of-motion exercises. Swelling and pain can result in limited mobility of the ankle. A physical therapist teaches you how to do safe and effective exercises to restore full movement to your ankle.
Muscle-strengthening exercises. Ankle muscle weakness may cause long-term instability of the ankle and new ankle injuries. Your physical therapist can determine which strengthening exercises are right for you based on the severity of your injury and where you are in your recovery.
Body awareness and balance training. Specialized training exercises help your muscles "learn" to respond to changes in your environment, such as uneven or unstable surfaces. When you are able to put full weight on your foot without pain, your physical therapist may prescribe these exercises to help you return to your normal activities. For instance, your physical therapist might teach you how to do this: with or without your eyes closed, stand on one leg or stand on a wobble board to challenge the muscles around your ankle.
Functional training. When you can walk freely without pain, your physical therapist may begin "progressing" your treatment program to include activities that you were doing before your injury, such as walking in your neighborhood, jogging, hopping, or modified running. This program will be based on the physical therapist's examination of your ankle, on your goals, and on your activity level and general health.
Activity-specific training. Depending on the requirements of your job or the type of sports you play, you might need additional rehabilitation that is tailored for your job or sport and the demands that it places on your ankle. Your physical therapist can develop a program that takes all of these demands—as well as your specific injury—into account.
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