Acute lateral ankle sprains are among the most common musculoskeletal injuries. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 4 people experience a lateral ankle sprain at some point in their lifetime.
The lateral ligaments of the ankle
- Anterior Talofibular
- Posterior Talofibular
play an important role in stabilizing and protecting it during weight-bearing activities. These ligaments are composed of several distinct fibers, which can become overstretched or torn if excessive force is applied to them. When this occurs, it can lead to an acute lateral ankle sprain.
Pain, swelling, and discoloration in the ankle can be a sign of an acute lateral ankle sprain. Sprains occur when ligaments, the fibrous tissues that connect bones together, are stretched beyond their limits. This type of injury is extremely common, especially among athletes and those who participate in physical activities.
A sprained ankle is one of the most frequent orthopedic injuries people suffer from. When it comes to treatment for an acute lateral ankle sprain, understanding the severity of the injury is key. There are three grades of ankle sprains: grade 1 (mild), grade 2 (moderate), and grade 3 (severe).
A physical exam or in severe cases an MRI may be used to determine which grade the patient has experienced. Treatment will depend on what grade the patient has suffered from; mild and moderate sprains usually heal within four weeks with a proper treatment plan. Severe sprains may require surgery if a trial of conservative care is unsuccessful.
Symptoms of an acute ankle sprain include
- Tenderness and pain when pressure is applied directly to the area
- Difficulty bearing weight on the affected joint
The RICE protocol, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, has long been a standard treatment for acute ankle sprains. However, recent research suggests that this protocol is outdated and ineffective. In fact, it may even delay the recovery process.
The inflammatory pathway is our body's natural response to injury, and research has shown that the inflammatory response is critical for tissue repair and regeneration. Resting and icing an acute ankle sprain may actually impede the body's natural healing process and delay recovery time. Instead, a more active rehabilitation approach combined with joint manipulation in the early stages of recovery is now recommended.
Heat has been shown to be an effective treatment modality to promote healthy blood flow
Dry needling kick starts our body's healing process, telling the body to send reinforcements to the area of injury
Fascia has be shown to contribute to pain and decrease mobility following an acute injury
Joints become stiff and lack motion after a period of embolization. Joint manipulation is a safe and effective treatment to decrease pain, increase range of motion and strength
Active rehabilitation exercises
Rehabilitation will help stabilize and strengthen the muscles around the ankle for better overall function
Blood flow restriction therapy
Blood flow restriction therapy (BFR), has been shown to speed up recovery time and healing in acute injuries.
BFR involves the use of a specialized tourniquet that is applied to the affected limb to partially restrict blood flow during exercise. This allows for increased muscle activation and growth while minimizing the stress on the injured tissue. The use of BFR for acute ankle sprains has shown promising results in reducing pain and swelling while promoting tissue healing.
How Can I Best Prevent An Ankle Sprain?
Preventing an ankle sprain requires a proactive approach to the body's care and maintenance. Taking preventative measures such as proprioceptive exercises and performing daily activities that increase the overall function of your foot such as "toe yoga" and barefoot walking can reduce the likelihood of suffering an ankle sprain.
How Long Does It Typically Take To Recover From An Ankle Sprain?
Recovery from an ankle sprain can vary depending on the severity of the injury, as well as on how it is treated. Generally, a mild to moderate ankle sprain can take around 4 weeks to completely heal.
What Are The Long-Term Effects Of An Ankle Sprain?
Ankle sprains are common injuries that can lead to long-term effects. Depending on the severity of the sprain, the effects may range from mild discomfort to chronic instability. After a lateral ankle sprain, some individuals may experience ongoing pain and swelling due to joint instability and decreased range of motion in the ankle. Other effects include a decrease in strength and balance, as well as an increased risk of re-injury if not properly stabilized and rehabilitated.
Are There Any Dietary Changes I Should Make To Promote The Healing Of An Ankle Sprain?
Depending on your current diet, there may be some beneficial changes you can make to enhance the recovery process. Following an anti-inflammatory diet has been shown to decrease chronic inflammation and proper a faster healing response.
Acute ankle sprains can be painful, swollen, and bruised in the initial stages, early intervention has been shown to lead to faster treatment outcomes.
At Denner Chiropractic & Performance, our team of experts is here to help you get back to doing the activities you love.
Contact us today to start your road to recovery now.
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