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Treatment for a sprained ankle

A very common phenomenon amongst athletes and in contact sports. During the injury, a rotative motion occurs in the ankle accompanied with pain and often a “cnack” feeling and sound. Swelling in the lateral (outer area) of the joint starts usually (even though a sprain can occur at the medial side as well). In addition, pain and tenderness and pain in weight bearing is eminent. The first treatment is ice, rest for 48-72 hours, elastic bandages and leg situated in an elevated position to assist the drainage of the swelling. Most athletes return to normal activity gradually after.

Nonetheless it is important to realize it is still a traumatic injury, where a partial \full tear or stretch of 1 ligament or more occurs. The swelling, if left untreated, can also lead to the formation of sporadic adhesive connective tissue that often adheres also to healthy tissue, thus limiting the functional range of motion of the ankle. One of the other common symptoms after an ankle sprain is repeated sprains and active instability. The trauma to the ligament also damages stretch and contraction sensors (propriosensors), crucial in the formation of a movement imaging in the central nervous system.

The treatment is comprised of manual therapy, drainage massage therapy to control swelling, athletic and kinesio taping to support the stability, ultrasound and other electrotherapy modalities, stability exercises and a gradual guidance back to sports.

There are more severe incidents such as avulsion fracture of the fibula, to which the ligament attaches to, or complete tears of the ligament that sometimes requires a surgical intervention.