Physiotherapy for Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprain is an injury to any of the ligaments--strong bands of tissue connecting a bone to another--supporting your ankle joint. The most common cause of an ankle sprain is when your foot is turned inward while walking, running or during a fall. Wearing the wrong kind of shoes, participating in certain sports, and having a certain foot abnormality may put you at risk for getting ankle sprain.

Symptoms of ankle sprain

Symptoms of an ankle sprain vary on the severity of your injury. Mild or minor ankle sprains cause overstretching of the ligament leading to mild pain and, sometimes, swelling. You may have mild pain when you try to walk. In a moderate ankle sprain, also called grade II sprain, the ligament is overstretched with incomplete tearing of fibers. You may have moderate pain and swelling, with or without ankle instability. Bruising may also occur if you have a moderate sprain.

Severe (grade III) ankle sprains usually cause severe pain and swelling. Bruising occurs after a few hours. You may have difficulty walking because of severe pain or your ankle being unstable. Severe sprains wherein the ligament is completely torn should be assessed by a qualified health care provider.

Physiotherapy treatment options for ankle sprains

Depending on the results of your ankle evaluation and examination and your specific needs and goals, your physiotherapist will create a comprehensive treatment plan specifically made for you. Physiotherapy treatments may include a combination of the following
  • Ice / Heat application
  • Ultrasound (US)
  • Recommend walking device (e.g. cane, crutches)
  • Joint mobilization
  • Physical therapy exercises
    • Gentle range of motion (ROM) exercises
    • Stretching exercises
    • Strengthening exercises
    • Conditioning exercises
    • Balance exercises
  • Gait (walking) training
  • Bandaging / Taping
  • Recommend brace or immobilization
  • Patient education
    • About their condition
    • Precautions and injury prevention
    • Work or activity modification
    • Home treatments for symptoms
    • Home exercise program
  • Formulate a work or sport-specific ankle rehabilitation program

The physiotherapy treatments for ankle sprain enumerated above will not be provided to you in one visit. Your physiotherapist is your best source for what appropriate physiotherapy intervention is best for you based on your specific problems, overall level of fitness and your goals.

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