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How To Properly Treat an Ankle Sprain

December 28, 2016





Ankle sprains are common with reports of 2 million per year in America.  Majority of ankle sprains happen during athletic activity with basketball being superior.  Teenagers and young adults have the highest rates of ankle sprains with previous ankle sprains being the greatest risk factor.  Ankle sprains are one of the most common visits to the emergency room and primary care.  With so many visit to health care providers, is everyone on board with the latest best treatment option?


Many healthcare providers result to immobilizing patients in a boot when research demonstrates mobilization being the superior treatment of choice.  Historically, the concept of RICE was thought to be ideal.  RICE being an acronym for rest, ice, compression, elevation.  Today, research demonstrates a new acronym for acute ankle sprains: POLICE (protection, optimal loading, ice, compression, elevation).



Ankle sprains are defined into 3 CATEGORIES 



Grade 1 (mild): Painful and stable, no macroscopic tearing, mild swelling.

Grade 2 (moderate): Painful and unstable, partial macroscopic tear, moderate swelling and bruising. 

Grade 3 (severe): Pain free and unstable, complete rupture of the ligaments, severe swelling and bruising.


Immediately following a sprain an inflammatory response begins.  Inflammation and pain result in altered foot and ankle mechanics, i.e, limping and decreased weight bearing to avoid pain.  Inflammation and altered mechanics causes joint dysfunctions.  A Manual Physical Therapist can restore proper joint mobility which will decrease pain and swelling.  Physical Therapy will teach you how to properly and optimally load your foot and ankle to assure further stress is not being placed on the ankle to facilitate an ideal healing environment.


              The earlier one starts Physical Therapy

for an acute ankle sprain, the faster the recovery. 


The proper treatment is important at preventing future ankle sprains.  Remember the highest risk factor for ankle sprains is previous ankle sprains.  Once you tear a ligament, the ligament will never be as strong as it once was.  Proper treatment must be performed.  If you suffer from an acute ankle sprain, see a Manual Physical Therapist immediately. 


Feel free to contact us at 512-298-3903 with any questions that you may have.


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