Have you ever had that sharp, unforgettable pain when twisting your ankle? Most people at some point have experienced a sprained ankle, whether it was from stepping wrong or from a sports injury. When this happens, what should you do and how do you recover?
The ankle is made up of many strong, supportive ligaments that help maintain your foot stability and balance. So, when one of these ligaments is pulled on or stretched too far, this is what results in an ankle sprain.
The level of sprain you have will determine the length of your recovery, but what’s important is that you take the time to go through a proper amount of rehabilitation, so that you have less chance of re-injuring yourself. Generally, it takes about 6 weeks to fully recover. Here are a few general tips to use when you’ve sprained your ankle:
- Rest, ice, and elevate! It’s important to rest your ankle after it’s injured – laying down and elevating it, and wrapping it with an ice pack will help decrease the swelling and inflammation. Again, the amount of rest will depend on how badly you’ve sprained your ankle, but it’s important that you don’t jump back into your activities too soon, as this can make you more prone to re-injury.
- Strengthen your ankle muscles. Since the muscles are so important in stabilizing your ankle, it’s important to keep them strong. An easy way to do this is to place a soft, medium sized ball in between your feet, and squeeze the ball. This activates the muscles without irritating them.
- Start working on your balance! Good balance is key for ankle stability..it helps make sure that you can handle walking on uneven surfaces, and it helps to make the muscles surrounding your foot and ankle strong. An easy way to start with this is to see how long you can stand on one leg, making sure you have something to hold onto, just in case you lose your balance. Try to build up to standing on one leg for 30 seconds, 3-5 times.
- See a physical therapist! After a sprain or tear, scar tissue develops as part of the healing process, but this scar tissue can lead to stiffness around the joint, making it feel like it’s tougher to move. Your PT will do some hands on techniques, such as soft tissue and joint mobilizations, as well as give you the proper exercises to help you get your mobility back…so you can get back to the activities you want to be doing!
I hope these tips help you or someone you know! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me!
Cheers to your health,
Shaheen Siddiqui, MSPT