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Have you ever sprained an ankle that seems to take forever to heal?
Not all ankle sprains are the same. Ankle sprains are one of the most overlooked injuries that occur, especially in younger people. An untreated ankle sprain can set you up for re-injury to that ankle because it heals improperly and the tissues heal with scar tissue. Since scar tissue is not as strong as normal healthy tissue; the ankle is more prone to re-injury from a less traumatic event. Another common complication of ankle sprain is low back pain. This happens because the individual limps to take pressure off of the injured ankle and end up putting more strain on their low back.
What are some treatment options for a sprained ankle?
The first step is to reduce the inflammation. This is usually done with ice, pulsed ultrasound, taping, and/or compressive wrap and various soft tissue techniques which stimulate draining of the swelling from the area. You will typically be icing at home along with resting and keeping it elevated whenever possible. X-rays may be necessary depending on findings in the examination to rule out fractures which can act like a relatively minor ankle sprain.
Once the swelling is no longer persistent, which usually occurs within a few days, the second step is to focus the treatment on improving any range of motion restrictions. This can usually be done with various soft tissue techniques such as Graston Technique and manipulation to any fixated ankle or foot joint. At this stage of treatment, you should be able to weight bear on the ankle with minimal to no pain.
After the range of motion is restored, the third step consisting of strengthening exercises is necessary. This is especially true for athletes or people that are on their feet for an extended period of time. Rehabilitation exercises are given to you in this office and typically are done at home. These strengthening and balancing exercises are necessary in order to retrain your body to use the ankle the way it should and reduce the risk of re-injury. Rehabilitation also reduces the risk of developing a chronic limp which can lead to back pain.
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