What is an ankle sprain?
An ankle sprain is one of the most common lower limb injuries treated in the clinic. It is the injury of the ligaments that support the ankle joint in a sudden movement of the foot outward or inward, thus causing an injury due to overstretching of this structure.
Severity of an ankle sprain injury
Depending on the severity of the injury, we differentiate sprains into 3 grades:
Grade I injury.
It is a mild injury, the ligament suffers an overstretching that causes micro-tears.
Grade II injury
It is a moderate injury, where the ligament suffers a partial rupture.
Grade III injury
A severe injury, where the ligament is completely torn.
Symptoms of an ankle sprain
Pain, swelling, muscle weakness, bruising, joint stiffness and difficulty walking.
Diagnosis of an ankle sprain:
Knowing how the injury was done and what movements currently generate pain is indispensable for diagnosis. Imaging tests such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging are also of great help in identifying the area of injury and quantifying the degree of the injury.
Treatment of an ankle sprain:
An ankle sprain it is important to start with its treatment from the first days after the sprain. The objectives during physiotherapy treatment involve:
- Reduce pain and inflammation: through the use of massage therapy, radiofrequency, neuromodulation, kinesiotaping and anti-inflammatory phytotherapy.
- Return the correct mobility to the joint using analytical osteopathic techniques.
- Reestablish muscle balance, restore motor control and improve proprioception through therapeutic exercise.
- In chronic sprains (the patient has been in pain or discomfort for more than 3 months) it is important to assess the joint and muscle biomechanics of areas distant to the ankle (knees, hips, back …) because the body, in its eagerness to eliminate the symptom of pain, makes compensations in ascending injury chain that, in the long run, can lead to problems at those levels described. For them we use the Osteopathy as an indispensable tool to know the impacts that the sprain has been able to generate in the rest of the body propitiating its chronicity or those factors that have facilitated a weakness of the stabilizing structures of the foot not helping to be able to avoid the sprain.
Recovery of an ankle sprain:
In all injuries we repeat to patients that “the sooner it is treated the faster the recovery”, but in the case of sprains this phrase takes on more meaning than ever. Prolonged immobilization is one of the worst enemies of this type of injury, and it is ideal to begin physical treatment 24 hours after the injury.
It is worth mentioning that this is an injury that often goes unnoticed by the patient and does not perform treatment, thus leading to an increase in the possibility of a recurrence and have an easier time to re-sprain the ankle. So it is always recommended to go to physiotherapy to receive appropriate treatment.
SPRAINED ANKLE – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Should the sprain be immobilized during the first days of injury?
In many health centers still propose the recovery of these injuries with immobilization splints for 10-15 days. This practice has already been proven that far from helping, it harms and delays the recovery of this type of injury.
This is due to the fact that the mechanical stimulus that the movement of the ankle exerts on the healing of the injured fibers is of vital importance for a correct configuration of the same, thus avoiding anarchic, fibrotic healing processes and therefore characterized by great deficiencies in their elasticity.
Should I suspend professional or sporting activity?
It will depend on each case, there are sprains that by location and degree of injury can be recovered without total rest. Other sprains of greater magnitude will require a measured protocol, where the first two weeks the relative rest (absence of impact, or prolonged hours of standing, etc.) is vital for proper recovery.
How much time should pass between sessions?
It will depend on each case, and sessions can be done daily or once a week.
How many sessions do I need to start noticing improvement?
From the first session you will notice great progress.
This post is also available in: Spanish
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