Sprained Your Ankles? Here Are Ways to Treat It
An ankle sprain is a common injury that can occur when the ligaments that connect the bones in your ankle joint are stretched or torn. This can happen as a result of a sudden twist, turn, or roll of the ankle. Ankle sprains can range in severity from mild to severe, but regardless of the severity, physical therapy can play an important role in helping you recover. Here are some tips for treating ankle sprains with physical therapy:
Rest and protect the ankle: The first step in treating an ankle sprain is to rest and protect the ankle. This may involve using crutches to keep weight off the ankle or wearing a brace or support to stabilize the joint.
Reduce pain and swelling: Ice can be applied to the ankle for 10-15 minutes at a time, several times a day, to help reduce pain and swelling. Elevation of the ankle above heart level is also helpful to reduce swelling.
Range of motion exercises: Once the swelling has decreased and you are able to bear weight on the ankle, range of motion exercises can begin. These exercises help to maintain flexibility and prevent stiffness in the ankle joint.
Strengthening exercises: Strengthening exercises can help to rebuild the muscles around the ankle joint that may have become weak due to the injury. These exercises can include calf raises, ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion, and resistance band exercises.
Balance exercises: Balance exercises can help to improve proprioception (body awareness) and reduce the risk of future ankle sprains. These exercises can include standing on one foot, walking on uneven surfaces, and using a wobble board.
Gradual return to activity: Once you have regained strength, range of motion, and balance, a gradual return to normal activities can begin. Your physical therapist can help you develop a plan for returning to activities that takes into account your specific injury and goals.
It is important to seek the help of a physical therapist to guide you through your rehabilitation process after an ankle sprain. A physical therapist can develop a customized treatment plan that addresses your specific needs and goals and can help you recover as quickly and safely as possible.
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