5 Physical Therapy Exercises for Sprained Ankle Relief
A sprained ankle can be painful and cause tremendous discomfort, especially if it is accompanied by swelling and bruising. It requires immediate treatment, as the injury can lead to a complete loss of function and even permanent damage to your foot if not treated properly.
Exercises for sprained ankles are designed to help reduce swelling, increase flexibility in the ankle joint and restore movement of the affected joint. In this article, you will learn which physical therapy exercises help you overcome your ankle sprain pain.
What is a Sprained Ankle?
Did you know 40% of all ankle injuries are sprains, and 45% of basketball players experience them? Soccer and football players are just a little behind with similar rates. A sprained ankle is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor. When you roll, twist, or awkwardly turn your ankle, the tough bands of tissue (ligaments) that help hold your ankle bones together stretch or tear. Sprains most commonly occur when ligaments are pinched or stretched, causing them to snap back into place. Sprained ankles usually involve injuries of the outer ligaments on the ankle joint. Pro Staff Physical Therapy offers competitive rates and personalized care that will allow you to focus on getting back to normal quickly.
What are the Symptoms of a Sprained Ankle?
A sprained ankle is an ankle injury that occurs when the joint’s ligaments are stretched or torn.
Common symptoms of a sprained ankle include:
- A mild to moderate amount of pain around the ankle
- Pain when lifting the foot or moving it in an awkward way
- Swelling or redness over the ankle joint
- Tenderness in the area where your ankle bends (the middle of your foot)
- Popping or cracking sensation
See an expert or physical therapist immediately if you have any of these symptoms.
What are the Causes of a Sprained Ankle?
A sprain is a mild injury to one of the ankle’s ligaments. It results when stretching or tearing one or more of these connective tissues, which hold your joint together.
Several causes of a sprained ankle include:
- Falling on an outstretched foot
- Twisting your ankle while running
- Stepping awkwardly off a step or curb
How is a Sprained Ankle Diagnosed?
Firstly your therapist will examine the ankle, foot, and lower leg for tenderness. They may touch the skin around where you hurt to see if that area is painful; then, move your foot in different positions to understand what movements cause pain.
If you suffer a severe injury, an expert physical therapist may recommend that you undergo one or more of the following scans to determine whether there is a broken bone and assess the severity of damage to the ligaments:
- X-ray: This test can help rule out the possibility of a bone fracture.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRIs use radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed cross-sectional images of ankle ligaments.
- CT scan: CT scans use many X-rays taken from different angles to make a joint cross-section.
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to produce real-time images that a doctor can use to diagnose injuries or infections.
5 Physical Therapy Exercises for Sprained Ankle Relief
Sprained ankles can be painful, and you might feel like you need to give up if you’re struggling with a sprain. You should know that with physical therapy, you can return to your routine and walk without pain.
Here are five exercises for sprained ankles that will help ease your pain and get you back on the road to recovery as soon as possible:
- Isometric ankle exercises: begin to strengthen the ankle muscles (tibialis posterior, peroneal) that help stabilize your heel when it’s on the ground.
- Leg swings, with a lightweight: Attach a small weight to your ankle to perform this exercise. Then swing your leg from side to side in a controlled way. This will mobilize the joint and strengthen the muscles surrounding it.
- Leg balance exercises: Keep your knee straight while standing on the limb where your injured ankle is located. Up to 30 seconds, try to maintain your balance on that leg, then take up to 10 seconds to relax.
- Heel-to-toe walking with a medium weight: To start slowly, gradually reintroduce weight-bearing activities on your foot. Kinesiology tape and braces will keep your ankle from rolling as your ligaments heal—and a physical therapist is a perfect resource to help with this process.
- Resisted ankle eversion: Tie the ends of an exercise band together to form a loop. Suspend this from something like a door handle, or hold it in place with your foot and ankle elevated off the ground for best results.
For expert help, you can contact Pro Staff Physical Therapy because we prioritize helping our patients return to full function, whether after injury, surgery, or simply due to a chronic condition.
When Should you See a Physical Therapist for a Sprained Ankle?
A sprained ankle is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor. A sprain occurs when some part of your ankle or foot is twisted or overextended. This can happen when you twist your ankle, fall, or put too much weight on it.
Most sprains occur on the outside (lateral side) of the ankle. If you sprain this area, you’ll likely need to see a physical therapist for treatment.
Here are some signs that warrants an expert opinion:
- You feel pain in your ankle
- Your ankle looks swollen or has a red or purple tinge to it
- You have difficulty moving your foot in any direction
What to Expect in Physical Therapy for a Sprained Ankle?
A sprained ankle can be a painful and frustrating experience. Knowing what to expect in physical therapy for a sprained ankle is important.
- When you go to your physical therapist, they’ll first do an assessment of your ankle. They’ll ask you questions about how it feels and how long it’s been hurting, as well as whether or not you’ve had any problems with it in the past.
- The physical therapist may refer you to a physician to take x-rays of your ankle (if necessary) to see if any other injuries need treatment alongside your sprained ankle. They may also use your medical records from previous visits with them to help them better understand how you’re feeling now.
- Finally, the physical therapist will advise you on what exercises you can do at home or in their office to help reduce swelling and speed up recovery time for your sprained ankle as much as possible.
Why Choose Pro Staff for Physical Therapy for Sprained Ankle Relief?
Pro Staff Physical Therapy is a leading physical therapy provider for ankle sprains. We know how important it is to get the right treatment at the right time, and we want to help you find it.
We aim to provide you with the best ankle sprain recovery possible so you can get back on your feet as quickly as possible and start enjoying life again. Our experienced staff will work with you to determine the best course of action for treating your ankle sprain and ensuring it heals properly. If you are looking for an excellent option for physical therapy after having an ankle sprain, then Pro Staff Physical Therapy is where you should be going. Contact us today!