What can PT do for an Ankle Sprain?
Ankle sprains occur when the ankle is twisted beyond its normal range, causing the ligaments that support the ankle to overstretch. The most common ligaments sprained at the ankle are on the outside, just below the ankle bone or malleolus. However, they can occur at the inside of the ankle or above the ankle (high-ankle sprain).
Sprains are graded depending on the severity of the injury.
- Grade I: A slight stretching and some damage to the fibers of the ligament
- Grade II: Partial tearing of the ligament. When examined there is laxity (looseness) of the joint in certain planes of movement.
- Grade III: Complete tearing of the ligament. When examined there is gross instability of the ankle
Signs and Symptoms:
- Pain and swelling around the ankle
- Pain with attempting to put weight on the foot
- Bruising in the ankle and into the foot
What to do:
- Immediately R.I.C.E. - Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate.
- Use crutches or a cane to be able to walk without a limp if some weight is able to be applied through the foot. For severe sprains or inability to put any weight through the foot use crutches.
- If swelling and bruising are severe and no weight can be applied through the foot get x-rays to rule out a fracture.
- Contact your physical therapist for evaluation and treatment. Physical therapy will help to restore the normal function of the ankle including range of motion, and strength to allow for pain-free walking, running, jumping, and climbing stairs. For athletes, more advanced exercises will be given for return to high level sports.