Speedy recovery from a sprained anklehealyos
An ankle sprain can vary in intensity and severity for every individual, depending upon the mechanics of the injury, the force causing the injury and the extent of the injury. While a twisted ankle may not hurt as much, a torn ligament or a fracture can cause excessive pain and swelling. Nearly all the mild forms of an ankle sprain can be easily managed and the patient can recover completely, with physiotherapy.
Ankle sprain treatment usually consists of the following steps:
1) Rest : The first step is to protect the ankle by bracing. It is ideal to avoid bearing weight on the injured side until the initial swelling subsides. It must be noted that prolonged periods of rest cause more harm than good, and appropriate exercises should be started as soon as the initial swelling subsides (more on that in the following points).
2) Icing : Cryotherapy is useful in reducing inflammation and for effective pain control. It is advisable to apply ice over the affected/ swollen area for 15 minutes, upto 4-5 times a day at least for the first 5 days till pain and swelling are minimised.
3) Compression & elevation : In most cases of mild to moderate ankle sprain, application of an elastic bandage accompanied by elevation of the affected leg above heart level plays a significant role in alleviating swelling.
4) Strengthening exercises : Once swelling has subsided, it is essential to begin specific exercises to ensure full recovery and prevent recurrence. A physiotherapist will prescribe a graduated exercise program after assessment of the severity of the sprain, degree of pain & swelling, and grade of muscle strength.
5) Range of motion exercises : These are an important part of post-injury rehabilitation as ankle mobility can become restricted if range of motion is not addressed after a sprain. When pain and swelling have subsided, the physiotherapist will also begin stretching exercises to maintain full range of motion. These exercises should be included in the home exercise program.
6) Functional exercises : Within 7-10 days of the injury, the physiotherapist will advise you to begin functional activities like walking, cycling, and swimming. These activities must be accompanied with strengthening and mobility training, which are the foundation of injury rehabilitation. If these activities are started without adequately strengthening the ankle muscles, the risk of re-injury increases.
7) Balance training : As strength develops in the injured ankle muscles, your physiotherapist will begin balance training exercises for you. These will train you to overcome balance issues caused by the injury and boost your confidence while walking or running over uneven/ unstable surfaces.
When managed appropriately by a qualified physiotherapist, ankle sprain recovery is guaranteed within 4-6 weeks. Regular follow ups and consistent exercises significantly reduce the risk of recurrent ankle sprains. Consult our expert physiotherapists today!
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