Sprained Ankle Physical Therapy Treatment

Ankle Sprain Treatment Physical Therapy

Sprained Ankle Physical Therapy Treatment

Sprained AnkleSprained Ankle Physical Therapy Treatment

One of the most common sport injuries is a sprained ankle. In most cases a sprained ankle occurs when your ankle rolls inwards under the weight of the rest of your body. This results in a sprain to the ligaments on the outside of the ankle.  Once someone has already sprained their ankle, there is an increased risk of re-injury of up to 40-70%, therefore, precise and correct rehabilitation exercises with a Physical Therapist are needed to recover and to prevent recurrence of an ankle sprain.

What is an ankle sprain?

Your ankle joint is made up of three bones: the fibula, the tibia, and the talus. The ligaments in the ankle attach from bone to bone and somewhat limit the movement of your ankle joint. The outer part of the ankle is composed of lateral ligaments including anterior talofibular ligament, posterior talofibular ligament, and calcaneofibular ligament.  An ankle sprain occurs when these ligaments are overstretched.

Symptoms of a sprained ankle

The signs and symptoms of ankle sprains can differ from mild to very severe, depending on how severe the injury is. The main symptom of a sprained ankle is pain felt around the ankle, especially in the area where the sprained ligaments are placed. In some severe cases, there may be immediate or delayed swelling and bruising of the ankle.

Generally, sprains are divided into three categories based on their severity.Ankle Sprain Treatment Physical Therapy
These categories include:

Grade 1: There can be some pain and little or no swelling. You may suffer from mild stiffness of your ankle joint. Your ligaments are stretched rather than completely torn. Recovery time is approximately 2-3 weeks.

Grade 2: There is moderate to severe pain with serious difficulty walking. Minor bruising and swelling may be present. Your ankle will feel very stiff but may also feel unstable. Recovery time is approximately 6-8 weeks.

Grade 3: There are total ruptures of the ligaments.You will feel severe pain immediately and your ankle will feel very unstable and weak. Extreme swelling and bruising may be present. Recovery time can be more than three months or longer and may require medical or even surgical intervention.

In ankle sprains, damage to tendons, joint capsules, bones, cartilages, nerves or other soft tissues may also be present.

Initial home treatment of an ankle sprain:

  • Rest: Avoiding aggravating activities, use of braces/support/boot/crutches depending on severity
  • Icing: 15 minutes every hour during the initial phase (first 48 hours)
  • Compression: Compression wrap
  • Elevation:  Elevate above heart to reduce swelling

Physiotherapy treatment of an ankle sprain:

  • Taping: Therapeutic or kinesio taping to protect the injured ankle and restrict aggravating movements.
  • Ultrasound: Pulsed sound waves to help with to provide pain relief and healing, while reducing swelling
  • Joint mobilizations:  Increase ROM and decrease in pain
  • Massage:  Friction massage can break down adhesions in the muscles tendons or ligaments
  • Strengthening exercises: Strengthen muscles around the ankle including the calf muscles, peronneal or fibularis muscles, and muscles along the shin bone.
  • Functional exercises:  Prepare the ankle for return to sport or activity.
  • Proprioception or balance / coordination exercises: To prevent re-injury from occurring.

At Ace Physiotherapy downtown Toronto our Sports Physiotherapist can help you leave recover from your ankle sprain and return to your favourite sports or activities faster!  

Call Ace Physiotherapy today at 416-900-6653 to book your appointment!

About the Author

Brad SaltzBrad is a Registered Physiotherapist at Ace Physio, a highly respected Physiotherapy clinic in downtown Toronto. Ace Physio provides high quality one on one Physiotherapy that combined state-of-art technology such as; Shockwave Therapy, Laser Therapy, and Spinal Decompression with traditional Physiotherapy.View all posts by Brad Saltz