By Dr. Kelly Herta, DC
So, you’re off on a run or just walking down the street and somehow you lose your footing. Next thing you know you feel your ankle roll to the side and you are now experiencing a sharp pain in your foot. Is it sprained? Is it fractured? Now what do you do? Well, the first thing to do is to head to your local medical provider to be checked. If it is determined there is no fracture but instead an ankle sprain you can then breath a sigh of relief. However, the old days of just using rest and ice should be over.
It has been found that spraining an ankle increases your risk of re-injury by as much as 40 to 70%. But proper post-injury care, such as rehabilitation exercises and bracing can decrease this risk by strengthening and stabilizing the injured ligaments that hold the ankle bones together. If proper care is not taken it can lead to instability and re-injury of the area.
To begin the recovery process and reduce pain start with P.R.I.C.E.
Protection = stabilize the area with a brace
Rest = rest from activities that cause pain, as you may or may not be able to walk on the sprain
Ice = ice the area for 10-15 minutes at a time, 3- 4 times per day, making sure the ice does not come into direct contact with the skin
Compression = wrap an elastic bandage around the foot and ankle, to help decrease swelling. (Make sure to loosen the wrap if the toes feel numb)
Elevation = Elevate the ankle above the level of the heart
Along with P.R.I.C.E., gentle range of motion of the foot should begin immediately in order to help regain normal ankle motion. After the swelling and pain are decreased, flexibility exercises of the leg should begin; this will loosen tight leg muscles which make it hard to use stairs, walk, run, and jump. Then you can begin to strengthen the ankle and leg muscles in order to assist the healing ankle ligaments to achieve stabilization. Lastly, balance exercises should begin, since ankle sprains can decrease your ability to balance on that foot thus making it easier to roll the ankle again, these exercises are extremely important. Keep in mind that injured ligaments can take many weeks to heal. One last option is to wear an ankle brace which can be used to help protect the ligaments not only during recovery but also when returning to sport or exercise activities.
For more information, contact Dr. Kelly Herta, DC at Aligned Health Chiropractic & Wellness Center. Located at 27875 Smyth Dr. # 100, and can be reached at (661)295-5200.