Have you had the unfortunate experience of rolling your ankle or twisting it in a way that caused pain, swelling, and discomfort for weeks? If so, you probably sprained your ankle. Ankle sprains happen from the most common causes, such as sports, just stepping wrong, and having your ankle roll. Experiencing a sprained ankle is not any fun, and without the right treatment can cause significant damage in the long-term. If you are currently recovering from a sprained ankle, physical therapy is the best treatment option.
What Is Physical Therapy?
If you are not familiar with this type of treatment, physical therapy refers to treatment assisted with a therapist that focuses on the injured area’s movement. Physical therapy is meant to help you restore your previous use of the area while allowing it to heal properly. This treatment can last for several weeks, depending on the extent of the injury.
When you start physical therapy, you will meet with your therapist several times a week in appointments and spend the meeting’s duration putting your sprained ankle through therapy. There will be exercises and icing on your ankle at the end to reduce any swelling.
Benefits of Choosing Physical Therapy
When you have a sprained ankle, you can choose several treatment options or choose just to let your ankle heal on its own. Unfortunately, that is not the best course of action, and there could be more damage done to your ankle later on. The best option for recovering from a sprained ankle is physical therapy for the following benefits.
When you choose physical therapy, your sprained ankle will heal faster than it will with no treatment at home. In physical therapy, you are focusing on the strength and range of motion so that you keep your ankle loose and in recovery. When you don’t engage in physical therapy, your healing could be longer because you are not working your ankle and helping it regain its normal range of motion. In most cases, an untreated sprained ankle could take up to 8 weeks to heal completely. With physical therapy, your ankle could be healed a few weeks earlier due to the treatments.
Regain Full Use of Your Ankle
With physical therapy, you can regain full use of your ankle so that you can get back to the activities that you enjoy. The exercises you learn and use in physical therapy can be carried with you even after treatment. These exercises will keep your ankle strong when you are playing sports, walking, talking, or just staying active normally.
Prevent Future Ankle Sprains
Sometimes the treatment of physical therapy on your ankle is enough to make it stronger than it was at the time of the sprain. With physical therapy exercises, you are given the tools you need to strengthen your ankles beyond their previous state. Since ankle sprains are common, the chances of you experiencing a future sprained ankle can increase.
When Should I Start Physical Therapy?
If you have a sprained ankle, you will want to get started on your physical therapy after the first week of recovery. Once you know you have a sprained ankle, it is best to go ahead and schedule therapy sessions so that you can get back on your feet as soon as you can. Sprained ankles have the ability to cause lifelong issues in your ankles, especially if your ankles are weak.
What To Expect During Physical Therapy
Once you begin physical therapy for your sprained ankle, you can expect some exercises and movements during your sessions. The goal of these movements is to help your ankle with strength and healing. There are different exercises that your therapist will do that focus on different areas of your ankle and generate the best improvement.
- Strengthening Exercises
- Stretching Exercises
- Range-of-Motion Exercises
With a combination of these different exercises, you can expect your sprained ankle to heal faster and improve its overall strength. These exercises can be used for athletes or those who are physically active even after your therapy treatments are over.
One of your exercises’ most important goals is to strengthen your joints and build up your ankle so spraining it in the future is not as easy. These exercises include adding weight to your ankle and doing reps to help increase its strength over the course of the treatment. The ankle eversion exercise is the most common strength exercise for your ankles.
When you stretch out your sprained ankle, you initiate healing with stretching exercises and keep the areas around your ankle strong. Flexing your ankle and stretching your calf muscles give your ankle the support it needs for healing and proper healing. These exercises do not start right away in physical therapy unless you can do them without pain. You can use a towel to help stretch these muscles in your lower legs, or your therapist could have you stand on your ankle and stretch your leg up behind you in repetitions to stretch these muscles.
These are the most common exercises that you do in physical therapy. They begin immediately in your therapy sessions, encouraging you to use your ankle and keep it moving. The most common exercises include using your injured foot and ankle to write out words so that the ankle is working. These exercises are also encouraged at home throughout the day so that you keep your ankle from getting stiff and extending the healing process.
Are You Experiencing A Sprained Ankle?
If you are prone to spraining your ankle or are currently experiencing discomfort, you should have your ankle checked for an official diagnosis. At Reliant Urgent Care, we are happy to assist you with your emergency needs and get you scheduled for physical therapy in the event of a sprain.
We can be contacted here for more information or visit one of our five California locations near you. We look forward to getting you the medical care that you need for your best health and recovery.