physiotherapy for ankle sprain

Physiotherapy for Ankle Sprain

Due to a sudden misstep, you may suffer from an ankle sprain. Or, if you are an athlete then you have more chances to have an ankle sprain. And it would help if you had to go for physiotherapy for your ankle sprain. If you take physiotherapy for your sprained ankle, your condition will improve quickly without further complications! But if you neglect your ankle sprain, it may cause severe disability for you!

If the ankle pain goes away quickly, you usually don’t think about it again. However, it needs to be treated if the pain is severe, causes swelling, and hurts when you walk. Several treatments have been suggested for treating acute ankle sprains, and Physiotherapy has been suggested with the most evidence. The exercises in the physiotherapy program range from a simple range of motion, stretching and strengthening to neuromuscular, proprioceptive, and sport-specific exercises.

Ankle Sprain

An ankle sprain is one of the most common musculoskeletal injuries. It can happen to people of all ages, both athletes and people. It may stretch or tear one or more of the ligaments in your ankle if rolling, twisting, or oddly turning your ankle occurs. Pain, Swelling, and difficulty in walking may occur.

Many people deal with ankle injuries independently and don’t go to the doctor. But if a sprained ankle causes more than mild pain and Swelling, you should see a physiotherapy doctor. Without the proper care and rehab, a badly sprained ankle might not heal well and might lose its range of motion and stability, which could lead to more sprains.

How you treat a sprained ankle depends on how bad the injury is. Even though self-care and over-the-counter painkillers might be enough, you need to see a doctor or physiotherapist to find out how badly you’ve sprained your ankle and what kind of treatment you need.

Physiotherapy for Ankle Sprain

Depending on your ankle sprain, the acute phase can last anywhere from 4 to 6 days. You can go to a physiotherapist or a doctor for better intervention. But here we have explained the proper treatment for acute ankle sprain.

Management of Acute Ankle Sprain

physiotherapy for ankle sprain

Stop walking or running! When you have an injured ankle, walking on it can cause more damage and internal bleeding, and it will take you much longer to get better. So, you must have to go for a rest!

If you have ankle twisting, put ice on it and put gentle pressure on it for 10 minutes immediately. Putting your foot higher than your heart may also help. This helps stop or slow the bleeding and swelling inside the body. Too much internal bleeding and swelling can put more pressure on the healthy tissue around it, and this pressure can stop blood and oxygen flow to nearby cells, which can cause more damage than the original injury. Remember that putting ice on the area for more than 10 minutes or pressing very hard could adversely impact you.

Do not use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids during the first three days after an injury. Inflammation is an important part of the first stage of wound healing; if you stop it from happening, your healing will take longer. Ice is a safer way to reduce swelling and pain than NSAIDS because it does not reduce the body’s inflammatory response as much. During the first three days, you can use ice every two hours.

If you hurt yourself badly, using a crutch for a day or two can help you get better faster. You should only use crutches for up to two days without conversing with a physiotherapist or doctor since using them for too long can also slow your recovery. Being too careful about an injury can make it take longer to heal.

If you have severe pain and swelling, you may wear a rigid ankle brace, boot, or cast for up to 10 days. Don’t keep the ankle immobile for too long. Studies have shown that doing functional exercises right away helps people get better faster than staying immobile for a long time.

Moving your ankle within the range where it doesn’t hurt can help you feel less pain and get better faster. Depending on the injury’s bad, we usually tell people to start doing it the second day after it happened. If you hurt it today, you should wait until tomorrow to move it. Depending on what kind of ankle sprain you have, your first steps will be different. For a typical inversion ankle sprain, we usually have people do very gentle dorsiflexion/plantar flexion movements (pull toes up and point toes down) (where you pull the ligaments on the outside of your ankle). The move should not hurt and should be done ten times all at once, and you can do it many times a day.

Management of Chronic Ankle Sprain

Before deciding how to treat your chronic ankle sprain, your condition and any other ankle injuries you’ve had will be examined. The ankle will be checked for signs of swelling and pain and to see how stable it is. Tests like x-rays can be used to figure out what’s wrong. When figuring out the best way to treat a person, the level of activity of that person is also taken into account.

Nonsurgical treatment options can include physiotherapy for an ankle sprain, which uses different exercises to increase the ankle’s range of motion, strengthen the muscles around the ankle, and retrain the muscles around the ankle; medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can help to reduce inflammation and stop the pain; and bracing, which involves wearing an ankle brace to keep the ankle from turning and reduce the risk of further injury.

In some cases, surgery may be suggested as a treatment. This is probably because of how unstable the ankle is and how ineffective nonsurgical treatments are. Most surgical treatments aim to fix the damaged ligaments around the ankle or rebuild them from scratch. Most of the time, these are things like lateral ankle ligament reconstruction surgery.

The nature of each surgery will depend on the person’s condition. In the same way, the amount of time needed to recover after each procedure and the suggested exercises will depend on the type of surgery done.

As with any surgery on the foot, swelling can last for a few months after foot surgery, and this is normal, and this swelling will go away entirely over time. It can take up to a year, but it usually goes away much faster.

Exercises for Ankle Sprain

A physiotherapist may suggest several exercises for your sprained ankle. You can do these simple exercises up to five times a day to keep your ankle’s range of motion and flexibility in good condition. Those are-

Range of Motion Exercises

Range of motion exercise will help to reduce pain and swelling. Besides these exercises will help to maintain the joints flexibility.

Ankle Alphabet

Place yourself on a couch or a comfortable chair. Extend your leg and use your big toe to trace the letters of the alphabet in the air. You can repeat this 2 or 3 times if there is no pain. This easy exercise will help you move your ankle in all directions.

Knee Motion

Sit in a chair. Keep your foot on the floor in a flat position. Move your knee slowly from side to side for 2 to 3 minutes. This makes the ligaments around your ankle stretch and loosens up.

Towel and Tissue Scrunches

Sit in a hard chair, and put a small towel on the floor. Take off your shoes and socks and carefully scrunch up the towel with your toes, counting to five. Then let go of the towel and do it again. Do this eight to ten times, or less if it hurts.

Stretching Exercises

Your Achilles tendon goes behind your ankle and connects your calf muscles to your heel bone. The next set of exercises you should do as soon as possible is stretching your Achilles tendon.

Towel Stretch

Put your leg out in front of you as you sit on the floor. Cover the ball of your foot with a towel or strap. Pull the towel back so that your toes move closer to you. The stretch should be held for 15 to 30 seconds. Please don’t overdo it. Your calf muscle should only feel a mild to moderate stretch.

Standing Calf Stretch

Stand with your back to a wall or counter and put your hands on it for support. Put your good foot forward and your bad foot back about one step. Slowly bend the knee of your good leg until you feel a moderate stretch in the calf of your injured leg. Do this three times and hold for 30 seconds each time.

Heel Raise

Stand with your hands in front of you and rest on a wall, countertop, or chair back for support. With your feet shoulder-width apart, slowly rise on your toes and lower yourself back down. Start with about ten and work your way up to 20 or more. Remember that you only want a mild stretch, not pain. When you can do these without thinking about it, you can switch to only using the toes on your injured side.

Strengthening Exercises

Once you can move your sprained ankle well and put weight on it without pain, the next step is to do strengthening exercises. A resistance band is needed for these moves, and this is a simple elastic band that you can get at a sports store, online, or from a physical therapist’s office.

Elastic Band Push

This is like the towel stretch, but you must push against something. Get down on the floor. To keep your heel off the floor, prop it up with a rolled-up towel or swimming noodle. Wrap the elastic band around the ball of your foot and tie the two ends together. Now, slowly move your foot forward so that your toe points. Then bring it back slowly. Do this ten times. Don’t use the band if it hurts or your ankle feels like it will give way.

Elastic Band Pull

Use a desk or table leg as a tie-in for your resistance band. Hook your toes and upper foot into the band while seated on the floor. Slowly reposition your foot so it is vertical by pulling it back toward you. Ten times, do this.

Ankle Out Exercise

Take your resistance band and secure it to a large object. Hook the inside of your foot into the band’s end when standing or sitting. Move your foot back and forth slowly. Start by repeating ten times, then increase to 20.

Furthermore, you can perform this while seated with your ankle supported by a rolled towel or noodle. Make a loop at the resistance band’s end, and then hook it around your foot. Place the band now so that it also surrounds your healthy foot. The pivot is your good foot. Keeping hold of the band’s end, extend your ankle. Start by repeating ten times, then increase to 20.

Ankle In Exercise

Hook the inside of your foot into the resistance band wrapped around a hefty item. Now, carefully move your foot inward and back against the resistance band. Repeat ten times, increasing to 20 repetitions.

Balance & Control Exercises

An essential part of getting better is getting back control of your muscles. When you sprain something, nerve fibers get hurt. As your strength returns, your brain must figure out where your ankle is and how to move it again. Proprioception is the name for this sense.

Basic Balance

Stand on your hurt foot, lift the foot behind you off the ground, and try to keep your balance. If you feel unsteady, hold on to a counter or chair back. At first, try to hold this for a few seconds. Then work your way up to 30 seconds and 1 minute.

Pillow Balance

Just stand on a pillow and do the same essential balance exercise. This is a lot tougher. Even if you don’t have a sprained ankle, your foot will move around a lot, and you’ll have to keep adjusting your balance. Try to get between 30 seconds and 1 minute. If your ankle starts to hurt, you should stop.

Final Words

A weak ankle often causes muscle coordination problems. Physiotherapy and exercises are always essential parts of recovery after ankle surgery. During this time, it also helps to wear an ankle brace to give ankle support from the outside. The pressure it puts on the joint can also help you get your muscles to work together again. People probably do better when they start moving, getting stronger, and working on their coordination at the latest two to three weeks after surgery. Studies show that people who do this return to being active sooner than those who wear an ankle brace for six weeks but don’t exercise during that time.



"Hasan", I am a physiotherapy Doctor. I have completed my B.S.c course (4 years) under Rajshahi University, Faculty of Medicine, Rajshahi. Currently I am working as a clinical physiotherapist at a renowned physiotherapy center and I am continuing my MPT (Master's of physiotherapy) degree at CRP, Savar.

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