Ankle Sprains: What To Do When You’ve Injured Your Ankle
A sports physiotherapist will generally recommend giving ankle sprains a three-day rest period, depending, of course, on the severity of your injury. The best course of action straight after spraining the ankle is to ice it. A good rule of thumb is to apply a cold compress for 10 to o15 minutes every couple of hours. Icing the injured ankle can reduce inflammation and assist with pain management.
For the first three days, it’s advisable not to put too much weight on your ankle and then to gradually start training again as it heals. But how do you know if it’s healing and how much exercise is too much?
Working with a sports physiotherapist is a safe and supervised way to ease yourself back into fitness and ensure you do gentle and supportive exercises to rehabilitate your injury.
Rehabilitating Ankle Sprains
Ankle sprains can be difficult to rehabilitate. Your ankles support your body weight and need to stabilise your body when you’re doing cardio and weight training. Doing too much too fast can cause a secondary injury and set you back even more.
So What Kinds Of Exercises Are Safe To Do For Ankle Sprains?
Our sports physiotherapist recommends gentle exercises such as
- Range of motion
- Balance and control movements
The Benefits Of Physio For Ankle Sprain
A qualified physio can help you with a sprained ankle by
Physiotherapists know how to treat a sprained ankle using manual therapy and other specialised treatments to reduce pain, depending on where and how you have sprained the joint. This is a vital skill in our day and age when so many people become dependent on pain medication. Working with a sports therapist is preferential to taking pain medications and can help you with a drug-free solution that is better for your long-term health and wellbeing. Medications generally carry undesirable side effects, and natural solutions are more beneficial for our bodies.
Improving your range of motion
A combination of stretching and manual treatments can be used to support your soft tissue and injured ankle joint so that you retain flexibility during your recovery. Improving range of motion has another important benefit: it can also help to break scar tissue down. Scar tissue can make the pain worse and cause your ankle joint to stiffen.
Muscle atrophy can happen quickly when you are inactive, and physio for ankle sprain can help you to retain strength during this period. Muscle weakness can make ankle sprains more painful, as it puts pressure on the injured area and restricts your range of motion.
Avoid the need for surgery
When the ankle is severely sprained, sometimes surgery is necessary. Of course, surgery always carries risks of complications and requires a lot of downtime that takes a while to recover from. If surgery is absolutely essential, working with a sports physiotherapist can help you to prepare for the surgery and help you to recover faster afterwards.
So What Types Of Physio Exercises Are Recommended For Ankle Sprains?
Remember to be slow and gentle with exercises and stop immediately if you feel any pain or discomfort. The idea is to build up strength and mobility slowly, so pace yourself.
The ankle alphabet
This is a gentle and easy exercise that you can do at your own pace. Sit comfortably in a chair with a straight spine and hold the injured ankle out in front of you.
Gently trace the letters of the alphabet with your foot. If you don’t find this uncomfortable, you can repeat the alphabet two to three times.
The ankle alphabet helps with range of motion and stretching.
Standing calf stretches
Stand yourself in front of a wall or counter, so you have some support. Place the injured leg one pace behind your other leg; make sure the heel of the back leg is flat, and gently bend the knee on the good leg until you start to feel a stretch in the calf of your injured leg. Repeat this exercise three or four times, holding the stretch for about 30 seconds.
Get into a standing position and place your body weight on the injured foot. Slowly lift the other leg up from the ground, trying to maintain your balance. If you feel unsteady on your feet, hold onto something for more support. At first, try to hold the position for a few seconds, working your way up to a 30-second hold. Repeat this exercise two or three times.
Getting professional physio for ankle sprain can help you to avoid re-injury and speed up your rehabilitation. For help with your ankle injury, please contact us: (02) 9884 9300.
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