Sprained ankles are probably the most common traumatic injury—by some estimates, as many as 25,000 people per day fall victim. You can wind up with a sprain in almost any circumstance where you fall awkwardly or lose your balance: slipping on the ice, taking a tumble on the basketball court, misjudging a curb—you get the idea.
Rehabilitation is crucially important after a sprain in order to make a full recovery and regain pre-injury levels (or as close as possible) of strength and mobility. Without proper rehab a bad sprain could lead to chronic pain, and even permanently weaken the muscles, tendons, and ligaments supporting the joint.
Shortly after the injury, your physician will start you on a rehab plan. Following that plan carefully is of vital importance. Do too much, and you may impair the healing process. Do too little, though, and it may be harder in the long run to regain strength and protect yourself against re-injury in the future.
The first phase of rehab is mostly focused on protecting the ankle as it heals. Avoid strenuous activity and stay off the injured foot as much as possible. In some cases tools such as braces, walking boots, or crutches may be advised for temporary use.
The second phase will introduce more basic stretches and exercises designed to increase blood flow and regain some of the strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination that were lost in the injury. You’ll get the go ahead to return to some regular activity, but even if you’re feeling a lot better, don’t rush back into running and sports, especially those with a lot of starts, stops, or cutting motions.
Eventually, when you’re ready, we’ll clear a return to more vigorous exercises. Again, since you’ve been unable to condition yourself for full tempo activities for at least a few weeks, give yourself permission to take it slow and ease back into your former routine.
Even though sprains are a very common injury, it’s important to take rehab seriously and have a good plan for a healthy, safe, and fast recovery. That’s why we strongly recommend you make an appointment with the trained staff at Family Foot & Ankle Center in Cincinnati any time you injure your ankle. You can reach us by calling (888) 689-3317.