(The following is for general information purposes only, please consult with a health care practitioner for a proper evaluation and management options)
Did you roll your ankle? This is a very common injury for both the top end athletes and weekend warriors alike. Ankle sprains can be very painful and can cause a lot of swelling. In severe sprains, even fractures may occur. If you’ve found yourself with a sprained ankle, keeping the following tips in mind might help prevent delayed recovery and chronic ankle issues over the long-term.
First things first, you need to rule out fracture. This is probably not as much of a concern with mild injuries, but for more severe ankle rolls, you may want to check with your health care practitioner (like moi). If there’s any doubt, xrays can be ordered to evaluate the area for fractures.
If no fractures are suspected, the next step is to try to reduce the pain and swelling. Don’t go too crazy over the first few days. That may only end up prolonging the issue. Over the counter anti-inflammatory medications are often used, but there are natural anti-inflammatory supplements available as well such as bromelain, boswelia, and white willow bark. It’s also a good idea to try to use the R.I.C.E. principle. Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate. When off your feet, you can wrap the area and ice it and elevate it at the same level or above the torso of your body. This will help reduce swelling, which often leads to as much problems as the initial injury itself. Be patient, it may take a few days of this before you get to the point where you can really start to work it.
While it is still fairly swollen, there is one exercise that may help without risking more irritation to the area. This exercise consists of pointing the toes and listing the toes and will help ‘pump’ swelling out of the area while improving range of motion. It’s hard to explain, but the following video does a great job.
(please excuse the advertisements that may play 5 seconds prior to the demos)
Once you can walk on the injured foot/ankle with little to no pain, you can add a few more exercises. Not only is it important to strengthen the area, but you need to work on balance as well. This is because the nerves that keep your ankle stable are often stretched and damaged just as much as the ligaments and tendons, and the best way to rehab these nerves are though balancing exercises.
Here’s a few more videos I’ve found of exercises I usually recommend.
This is a very basic approach to ankle sprains. For more severe injuries or complications, it is best to consult with your health care practitioner. If you’re local and need help with something like this, you can call my office in Orwigsburg at 570-366-2613, and I’d be happy to help you out.
(Dr. Touchinsky is a chiropractor in Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County. He focuses on the treatment of muscle and joint related issues, including ankle sprains, ankle strains, ankle pain, neck and back pain, sciatica, disc bulges, chronic pain, etc. For a free consultation to discuss your issues and determine if chiropractic care can help, call the office at 570-366-2613.)
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