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How to Manage an Acute Ankle Sprain

Ankle sprains are one of the most common athletic injuries we treat in the clinic. The way you manage an acute ankle sprain within the first 48 hours can have a huge impact on the timeline of your overall recovery.

Most ankle sprains are “inversion sprains,” meaning that the ankle rolls inward. This type of sprain stresses the ligaments on the outer portion of the ankle. Many athletes tend to disregard minor ankle sprains, which is a mistake. Proper management of an ankle sprain can help you get back to your sport quicker!

 A strain occurs when a ligament is loaded and stretched beyond its capacity. Each tissue has a certain capacity or ability to withstand loading. Ligaments are made to withstand and resist tensile forces. When a ligament gets stretched beyond that point, we call it a sprain. There are different degrees of sprains. Your physical therapist will be able to assess your specific injury and tell you what “grade” of sprain you have. Different grades of sprains will have different healing timelines and should be approached differently from a rehab perspective.

What You Can Do:

·         Be sure to ice your ankle as soon as you can following the injury. You should apply ice several times per day for the first 48 hours. Keep the ice on for about 10 minutes at a time.

·         Swelling is normal following an ankle sprain. Elevating the ankle in your down time can help decrease swelling and speed up the recovery process.

·         It is important to offload the ankle and decrease the weight-bearing forces through the joint. Crutches may be indicated for the first few days after an ankle sprain

·         Taping or bracing the ankle may be necessary depending on the grade (severity) of the sprain. Your Physical Therapist can teach you the best way to tape your ankle depending on which ligaments were strained and point you in the direction of a good brace if needed.

·         Schedule an appointment with you Physical Therapist so that you can develop a proper rehab program and ensure a speedy recovery.

Here at NW Wellness, we treat a variety of sport and orthopedic injuries. We can help you recover from an ankle sprain, shoulder pain, low back pain, and many other injuries and conditions. Schedule your appointment today!

Northwest Wellness is located at:

37430 Pacific Hwy S.

Federal Way, WA 98003

Phone: (253)-927-0660