Ankle Sprain? What A Pain!

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Most of us have experienced them before - the dreaded ankle sprain! At some point in life or another, it is bound to happen. So what can you do to naturally care for a sprained ankle? And can chiropractic help?

Anatomy of the Ankle

The ankle might not be a lot to look at on the outside, but it is complex and comprised of a number of different joints. There are four main bones: the tibia (distal end), talus, calcaneus, and fibula (distal end). There are also a number of tendons and ligaments associated with your muscles (both the calf and shin). The ankle’s main motion is a hinge joint with two main movements: dorsiflexion (down) and plantar flexion (up). The ankle also has associated movements including eversion (imagine your pinky toe turning out) and inversion (think about turning your ankle in).

Common Injuries

The most common ankle injury we see is an inversion sprain. These injuries are often the result of sports-related incidents, particularly running or activities that require you to quickly stop and change directions. A sprain is the result of an injury when the fibers of the ligaments of the joints are stretched beyond their normal capacity. When the ankle rolls inward, an inversion sprain occurs, like when you are walking on the street and your foot catches the edge of the sidewalk causing your ankle to bucket. The sole of the foot moves in toward your other foot and the outside or lateral ligaments of the joint are injured.

Proper Healing

Just because most of us have experienced a sprained or twisted ankle doesn’t make it any easier. So what can you do to promote proper healing?

  • Ice - Right after the injury is sustained and over the next 3-5 days, you will want to incorporate ice therapy into your routine. Start with 12-15 minutes of ice (enough to make the ligaments and ankle really cold), then take it off for one hour. Do this throughout the day 3-4 times.

  • Light movement/rest - Take a load off! As your ankle heals, you’ll want to ease up on your regular routine. That doesn’t mean you have to sit on the couch all day with your foot elevated, but it does mean spending less time on your feet and skipping workouts beyond light walking. While you’re resting, practice some simple range of motion exercises like moving your ankle gently from side to side and up and down.

  • Chiropractic care- Chiropractic care for the lower extremities, including the ankle joint, can help your body heal more quickly. Many patients also report experiencing less pain as a result of as little as one chiropractic adjustment. Regular chiropractic adjustments can also prevent future injuries from occurring.

  • Rehabilitation - One area people tend to forget about is that once the swelling goes down and they’re back in action, is the prime time to start rehabbing the ankle joint. Incorporating routine strength exercises and routine stretches will help in restoring balance.

The fact of the matter is, at some point in life, most of us will have experienced an ankle sprain. If you would like to schedule a chiropractic appointment to heal an injured ankle or have more questions, contact us today!