An ankle sprain can be a painful and frustrating experience, disrupting your daily activities and impeding your mobility. However, with the right approach to ankle sprain rehabilitation, you can speed up your recovery, regain stability, and return to your active lifestyle. Whether you’re an athlete or simply someone seeking a swift and thorough recovery, read on to discover key strategies for rehabilitating ankle sprains and reclaiming your strength.
An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments surrounding the ankle joint are stretched or torn due to a sudden twisting or rolling motion. It is a common injury, affecting people of all ages and activity levels. Proper rehabilitation is essential to ensure the ankle heals correctly, restore functionality, and prevent future re-injury.
Recovering from an ankle sprain involves a comprehensive approach that focuses on reducing pain and inflammation, restoring range of motion, rebuilding strength, and improving balance and stability. By following a well-designed ankle sprain rehab program, you can expedite the healing process, minimize downtime, and get back on your feet with confidence.
Below are some of the most common causes of ankle sprains:
- Awkward Landings: Landing on an uneven surface or landing improperly after a jump can cause the ankle to roll or twist, leading to a sprain.
- Sports Injuries: Participating in high-impact sports, such as basketball, soccer, or tennis, increases the risk of ankle sprains due to sudden changes in direction, collisions, or accidental tripping.
- Uneven Terrain: Walking or running on uneven surfaces, such as hiking trails or unpaved pathways, can cause the foot to twist unexpectedly, resulting in an ankle sprain.
- Inadequate Footwear: Wearing improper or unsupportive footwear with insufficient ankle support increases the vulnerability of the ankle joint and can contribute to sprains.
- Weak Muscles and Ligaments: Insufficient strength and flexibility in the muscles and ligaments surrounding the ankle can make it more susceptible to sprains, as they are less able to stabilize and protect the joint during sudden movements.
Below are some of the common signs and symptoms of an ankle sprain:
- Pain: Ankle sprains typically cause pain, which can range from mild discomfort to severe pain, depending on the severity of the sprain.
- Swelling: Swelling around the ankle joint is a common symptom of a sprain. The affected area may appear visibly swollen and feel tender to the touch.
- Bruising: In many cases, ankle sprains result in bruising around the affected area. This discoloration is due to bleeding beneath the skin as a result of the injury.
- Limited Range of Motion: Ankle sprains often lead to a decreased ability to move the ankle joint freely. You may experience difficulty or pain when attempting to flex or extend your foot.
- Instability: An unstable sensation in the ankle is a common symptom of a sprain. The affected ankle may feel weak or wobbly, making it challenging to bear weight or maintain balance.
How physiotherapy can help rehabilitate your ankle sprain:
Physiotherapy plays a crucial role in the rehabilitation of ankle sprains. A qualified physiotherapist can assess the severity of the sprain, develop an individualized treatment plan, and guide you through the recovery process. Here are several ways physiotherapy can help rehab ankle sprains:
Initial Assessment: A physiotherapist will conduct a thorough evaluation of your ankle, including assessing the range of motion, strength, stability, and any associated functional limitations. This assessment helps determine the severity of the sprain and guides the development of an appropriate treatment plan.
Manual Therapy: Hands-on techniques such as joint mobilizations, soft tissue massage, and gentle stretching can help restore mobility, improve blood flow, and reduce muscle tension around the injured ankle. Manual therapy techniques are tailored to the individual’s specific needs and can enhance the healing process.
Strengthening Exercises: Strengthening the muscles around the ankle joint is crucial for stability and preventing future sprains. Physiotherapists design a progressive strengthening program that targets the muscles in the ankle, calf, and lower leg. Exercises may include calf raises, resistance band exercises, and balance exercises to enhance strength and stability.
Below are also a few exercises that can help strengthen your ankle:
How we can help
Booking a physiotherapy session with a qualified healthcare professional is a wise step towards optimizing your recovery. A physiotherapist can accurately assess your condition, provide personalized treatment plans, and guide you through the rehabilitation process with expertise and support. Their knowledge and experience will ensure that you receive the most effective and efficient care tailored to your specific needs.
Book an appointment with one of our health care practitioners to get started in developing a personalized rehab plan for your ankle sprain!
Or if you’re not located near our clinic, consider enrolling into our Unlock your Ankle Mobility Rehab Program! This 12 week ankle mobility rehab program includes easy to follow exercises and stretches (accessible through our app) and completely takes the need out of guessing what exercises work for you. Best of all, it only requires 10 – 15 minutes every other day!