Consulting a Physiotherapist Due to an Ankle Sprain
As an experienced jogger, I want to avoid injuries. This is also why I invest in good footwear and try to do some stretches before heading out for a run. However, sometimes the inevitable can happen and ankles do get sprained.
It finally happened to me while I was a bit distracted. I twisted my ankle as I fell, so decided to head home immediately for some sprained ankle initial treatment. I had read a bit about this online, and I knew that this is very important in making sure that the damaged ligaments and tissues are protected and will heal well. However, the pain was a bit on the extreme side, so I had a feeling that I might have injured it quite a bit.
I then came to a decision to consult a professional, because I wanted to be on the safe side and have the extent of the injury thoroughly checked. As an active person, I also want to make sure that the foot heals well and that risks of further sprains are reduced. So I went to this new physiotherapy Balwyn clinic close to my home to get some advice. I knew that they would be experts in handling such problems and will be able to guide me back to full mobility as soon as possible.
During my first visit, the goal was to identify the severity of my sprain. For those who may not be aware, a sprained ankle is actually a tear to the ligament which connects bones. In our ankles, there are 3 bands of this connective tissue, and when there is excessive movement, it gets injured. The damage can vary, as differentiated into the following:
Grade 1 Sprain: this is when only a few of the ligament’s fibers get torn. This is normally accompanied by some pain, but the ankle retains almost full functionality.
Grade 2 Sprain: quite a significant number of the fibers get torn, meaning mobility is hindered and the joint becomes a bit unstable.
Grade 3 Sprain: all of the lateral fibers are ruptured, leading to a lot of pain, loss of function and joint instability is major.
Most ankle sprains are of the Grade 2 variety, which though not as bad as the Grade 3, are still quite painful and do mean some damage in the ligaments. In my case, I heard an audible snap as I twisted my ankle, and after I got home, I could already see that it had started swelling and feeling quite painful. These are common signs of such an injury. As was also typical, the pain became even worse the day after.
I was not able to anymore put any weight on the affected foot, so I was obviously limping around with a swollen ankle. I was also barely able, or if I could, it hurt quite a lot, when I would point the foot downwards. It was definitely a classic sprain, but my physiotherapist also decided to have an X-ray done to be sure of the extent of the damage. Other ways to do this is to have an ultrasound, an MRI or even a CT scan. In cases of more than normal pain, it is better to be sure that there are no other injuries, like a fracture.
Thankfully, after the examination, it turned out to be more painful than it really is, so it was a typical Grade 2 sprain. However, there was still the matter of the intense pain. It was already 2 days after the accident and was happy to get some expert advice with the hope that the sprain will then heal much faster.
I explained to my therapist that I had been doing the typical PRICE treatment on my foot. This means, Protecting my foot; Resting the ankle; Icing it for 15 minutes every 2 hours; Compression or using a bandage to reduce the swelling; and Elevation or keeping it up on a chair or some pillows. I also avoided HARM (Heat, Alcohol, Running or Massage) during these 2 days because I was informed that this would make the injury worse.
Professionals at the clinic had agreed that I had taken the right first steps, but in order to now facilitate the healing of the torn ligament fibers, I should consider going through some physiotherapy.
First was to have some soft tissue massage since after 72 hours this is allowed. The purpose is to make the pain less and to support the healing process. At the same time, some joint mobilization exercises were also conducted. Lastly, I was scheduled for exercises to improve flexibility and to make sure that the whole foot is strengthened. This will actually prevent future sprains as well.
The treatment by my physiotherapy clinic was perfect because although mild to moderate sprains do heal by itself in time, it is not recommended for athletes like me. This is because I will most likely continue to be active and run the risk of spraining it again. The only, and quick, way to do it is to have a therapist work with you on the healing, but at the same time, strengthening exercises on your foot. Otherwise, I might continue to have more damaging injuries in the future.