Most of us have encountered a sprained ankle at some point in our life. It’s acommon injury and can happen quite abruptly if your ankle happens to roll in or out unexpectedly. The sudden movement moves the ankle joint out of place. As a result, the ligaments, tendons, and tissues at the site are affected.
Ankle sprains manifest in two forms. An eversion sprain occurs when the ankle joint rolls inward. It affects the tendons connecting the joint to the inner part of the ankle. The injury makes it difficult to arch your foot or move the ankle freely.
An inversion sprain occurs when the ankle roll is outward. This type of injury affects the ligaments connecting the ankle to the leg. When these fibrous tissues are stretched beyond their optimal elasticity or torn, you’re likely to experience shooting pain at the ankle along with mild to severe swelling.
As painful as ankle sprains are, they can be treated fairly easily.
Immediately after a soft tissue injury, start with PEACE approach:
P = Protect, unload or restrict movement for 1 – 3 days
E = Elevate, elevate the injured limb higher than the heart
A = Avoid anti-inflammatory modalities, because optimal soft tissue regeneration is supported by the various phases of the inflammatory process
C = Compress, Intra-articular edema and tissue hemorrhage may be limited by external mechanical compression such as taping or bandages
E = Educate, use an active approach to recovery instead of a passive approach
After the first days have passed, use LOVE approach:
L = Load, Normal activities should continue as soon as symptoms allow for it, using an Optimal loading which should not cause and increase in the pain
O = Optimism,The brain plays a significant part in rehabilitation interventions
- Barriers of recovery include psychological factors such as:
In this case the support of an experienced clinician can be very useful.
V = Vascularisation, pain free cardiovascular activity is a motivation booster and it increases blood flow to injured structures.Use pain as a guide to progress the timing and intensity of the exercises.
E = Exercise, Evidence supports the use of exercise therapy in the treatment of ankle sprains and it reduces the risk of a recurring injury.
However, you should reach out to a physician for ankle pain treatment immediately if you are:
- Experiencing debilitating pain
- Experiencing severe swelling
- Having trouble walking more than a few steps
- Unable to comfortably place weight on the affected foot
The sooner you see ankle sprain treatment, the faster your recovery process will most likely be!