Inversion ankle sprains or ankle sprains to the lateral ligaments of the foot are a very common injury in sports and daily life. Damage to any of the ligaments whether it is the anterior talofibular, calcaneofibular, or posterior talofibular can cause a lot of pain. Also with tears in any of these ligaments you are prone to more ankle sprains in the future. In order to get out of pain after an inversion ankle sprain follow the exercises, stretches, and advice in this video so you can get back to playing sports or living your normal life.
The advice and exercises in this video are
1. POLICE or RICE acronym-POLICE stands for protect, optimally load, ice, compress, and elevate. Following these steps in the acute phase (0-48 hours) can help reduce swelling, inflammation, and more damage to the ligaments. RICE stands for rest, ice, compress, and elevate. RICE is the old acronym used that has only been changed because it is important to try and get movement back to the ankle.
2. Get movement in the ankle. Getting movement in the ankle is especially important at the the end of the acute phase and getting into the subacute phase. While there may be some pain at this point it is very important to know your limitations and not to push yourself to avoid more damage to ligaments.
a) To do this you can start with doing passive range of motion with ankle which means maintain movement by not using the muscles of the foot but rather something else. This can be done with your own hand or someone else can do this. Make sure to go through dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, inversion, and eversion not too far but to tolerable points.
b) Next you can get movement by doing active range of motion with the ankle. Active range of motion is when you are using the muscles of your ankle to move you ankle. This takes more energy and it is important to know your limitation when doing this. Make sure to go through dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, inversion, and eversion not too far but to tolerable points.
c) You can now do isometric muscle contraction of your ankle. Isometric muscle contraction is when you activate your muscle but you don't lengthen or shorten your muscle. This allows for your muscle to work but without putting too much tension on it. Make sure to go through dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, inversion, and eversion isometric muscle contraction meeting the resistance with your hand or an object.
d) Try to walk as much as possible during this phase without causing sharp pain
3. While in the subacute phase and you have mastered the previous exercises you can do theraband exercises going through plantarflexion, dorsiflexion, inversion, and eversion. This is good because you are doing active range of motion with variable resistance to your level with the theraband.
4. Doing toe raises will help strengthen the calf muscles. You can start out with standing on 2 feet and if you can do that you can move to standing on one foot. Along with doing toe raises you should also stretch out your calf muscles.
5. Once you are out of pain and in the chronic phase it is a good idea to start doing stabilization exercises for the ankle. Stabilization exercises are meant to strengthen the muscles around the ankle. The important muscles to strengthen are the fibularis and peroneal muscles since they are responsible for strengthening the lateral or outside part of the foot. This is important especially with an inversion ankle sprain because the outside or lateral ligaments are weak so to pick up the slack the lateral muscles need to be strong.
Some ways to do this are through one legged stands. These can be done starting with just on the ground getting up to 30 seconds. You can do this with your eyes closed for a challenge. You can also do one legged stands on a rocker board or a bosu ball to help increase stabilization strength. If you want to incorporate stabilization exercises into your other workouts you can try doing weights while standing on a rocker board or a bosu ball. You can also practice doing workouts with one legged stands or even doing one legged squats. The possibilities are endless but make sure you do it to avoid ankle sprains in the future or chronic ankle instability.
Along with exercises and stretches, manipulations or adjustments to the ankle have shown to help decrease pain and increase ankle mobility. This can be done by licensed chiropractors.
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