You’ve sprained your ankle and you are asking, “should I get an x-ray, go to the ER, call my primary doctor?” This can be a very difficult decision to make when you are in pain. Since a visit to an emergency room or finding a walk-in center can be expensive, as a general rule, if you are not able to take a few steps on your foot, you should probably make an appointment to get an x-ray for your sprained ankle. Although, if you can walk on it but it is painful, you should see one of our physical therapists right away.
How do I first Treat a Sprained Ankle?
The first step in treating sprained ankles is relative rest, ice, elevation and compression. Try to keep the ankle moving by doing pain free movements, especially in an elevated position until you can be seen by one of our physical therapists. There are different levels of a sprain from mild to severe, we are able to assess you at your appointment and clarify if further orthopedic treatment or an x-ray is recommended.
What Exactly is a Sprain?
A sprain is a stretch or tear of a ligament. Ligaments are flexible bands of fibrous tissue that connect bones to bones, and bones to cartilage. They also hold together the bones in your joints. Sprains occur from quick overstretching of the tissues causing micro-tearing and subsequent injury. Swelling begins as part of the inflammation process, causing pain and difficulty with movement.
How are Sprains Treated with Physical Therapy?
In most cases, physical therapy can effectively help you recover from a sprain. We first evaluate the injured area to determine the extent of the injury and ensure that the ligaments or tendons are still intact. After we pinpoint the injured area, we formulate a treatment plan that will quickly relieve your swelling, pain and begin restoring range of motion.
Why AAPT for Sprained Ankles?
At AAPT we often see that ankle sprains are the number one traumatic injury in athletes and dancers. Once you've sprained your ankle, you are at risk of doing it again. Sprains are hard to see on x-rays, therefore the problem can easily be misdiagnosed or missed altogether. Torn ligaments sometimes never heal to their pre-injury condition so it's important to restore proprioception and neuromuscular communication to prevent further injury and damage.
We specialize in restoring your normal range of motion and eventually restore normal strength. If you participate in sports or are very active, we work closely with you to make sure that we help you fully recover and can participate in those activities you love to do.