What to Do for A Sprained Ankle

By Dr. Molly Casey

Helping with Ankle Sprain

Sprained ankles are commonly a chronic issue. Not only annoying, they can often severely limit your choices for exercise. And you know exercise is an important part of your health and life! Don’t let chronic ankle issues hold you back from good health.

The Sprain

Inversion ankle sprains are the most common of all. This occurs when one rolls onto the outside edge of the ankle with the bottom surface of that foot facing toward the other, instead of being planted down on the ground. The ligaments on the outside of the foot and the muscles on the outside of the leg are injured.

When someone with an inversion ankle sprain doesn’t rehabilitate properly, that ankle becomes far more susceptible to continued sprains. Hence, it often becomes a chronic issue.

Regaining A Strong Ankle

Perhaps the biggest downfall in rehabbing from an ankle sprain isn’t that the process is hard; rather, the process simply requires a great deal of consistency and a small amount of time daily. Many find it tedious. Below are general guidelines; it’s always wise to get acute injuries assessed by the proper health care professionals.

Balance

Proprioception is the ability of your body to tell where it is in space. The receptors responsible for this process are injured in a sprain. They need to be retrained. This is done with balancing exercises as simple as standing on one foot. You can do this for 60-90 seconds at a time two to three times on each foot at least two times per day. Begin with doing these exercises with your eyes open. Progress to doing them with the eyes closed. Then progress on uneven surfaces (a wobble board) with eyes open and then on uneven surfaces with eyes closed. The point of progression comes when you can hold your balance strongly and steadily for the duration of the practice.

Stretch

Make sure to stretch the calf muscles by going to a stair -- hold the railing, have one foot planted firmly on the step and place the ball of the other foot on the edge of the stair and drop the heel down. You’re hanging the heel of one foot off the edge the stair. Hold this for 45-75 seconds, two to three times each side, one to two times per day.

Strengthen

Strengthen the lateral muscles of the leg by getting a theraband (an elastic exercise band) and practice eversion of the ankle. Eversion is the action of flexing your ankle up and out pretending as if you were going to touch the outside of your knee with your little toe. Click here to see a video.

Full Range of Motion

Ankle injuries can often come as a result of proper joint range of motion, and the injury itself can also cause improper joint range of motion. Have your chiropractor check to see if all the joints in the ankle are moving properly and throughout their full range. If they are not, a chiropractic extremity manipulation can restore that motion and ultimately help decrease the chances of it reoccurring.

Don’t let ankle sprains, chronic or not, be the reason that you aren’t moving your body like you know you should. Don’t let the ankle sprain affect your health more than it should. Let chiropractic help get you, your health, and your ankles back on track.

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