Ankle sprains are a common injury that occur in most sports, and unfortunately even in everyday life. They can be painful and make it very hard to move around or play your sport. Here are some tips and advice on what to do to help get back to doing what you love following an ankle sprain.
- Don’t immobilize right away. If you suspect you sprain your ankle, don’t immediately immobilize your ankle. If it truly is just a sprain, then you want to make sure you maintain as much motion as possible, and help utilize movement to help naturally pump out some of the swelling.
- Perform active motion to help with swelling and pain. Performing motions such as ankle pumps, circles, and ABC’s can help decrease both swelling, by acting as a natural pumping mechanism to decrease swelling, and overall pain by providing additional sensory/proprioceptive input to the injured area. Always perform them in a pain-free range, and try to increase the range as tolerated.
- Don’t ice too much. During the first day or two you should expect some swelling. This inflammation is a natural step of healing and is important in the overall healing process of your ankle ligaments. Icing too much can slow this process down a little bit, so ice should only be used to “numb” the region and help with pain tolerance, and keep the overall swelling at a manageable level.
- Know when to get X-rays. The Ottowa Ankle Rules can help a medical professional (or a parent at home) determine if x-rays are immediately needed after an ankle injury. Although positive testing does not always mean there is a fracture, they are extremely useful in EXCLUDING fractures of the ankle/foot, which can be reassuring to athletes and parents.
- See your Physical Therapist! At Iron Health, we can help facilitate the healing process after a thorough evaluation and ensure a smooth return to sport again. Manual techniques can help decrease overall swelling and pain, as well as increase motion. The biggest risk factor for an ankle sprain is a history of past ankle sprains… so the most important part of physical therapy will be addressing an strength or proprioception limitations and help minimize the chances of future sprains, and keep you playing or doing what you love.
Disclaimer: If you continue to experience unbearable, reoccurring pain, be sure to schedule an appointment with your physician or join our physical therapy family and allow us to help you regain function.
Iron Health is located in Briarcliff Manor and the greater Westchester NY area; our neighboring towns include Chappaqua, Mount Kisco, Tarrytown, Irvington and Pleasantville.
If you have any questions, fill out a Discovery Session form and we will contact you as soon as possible.