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Ankle Sprains

Ankle Sprains

posted at July 21, 2014

PT Treating Ankle Sprain

75%-85% of all ankle injuries are ankle sprains.

The common ankle sprain, Inversion Sprains, account for 85% of all sprains. It is an injury that most feel has limited options when it comes to treatment. However, an inversion sprain (a sprain to the anterior lateral ligament in the ankle) has several interesting statistics that need to be taken into consideration.

  • It is the most common sports injury seen by physicians.
  • It has the lowest rate of referral to physical therapy.
  • It has the highest rate of recurrence.

Historically the treatment of an ankle sprain through the formula of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) has been widely used by physicians, coaches, trainers and parents alike. However, evidence now shows that a new treatment formula yields quicker and more effective results. POLICE is a new acronym which represents Protection, Optimal Loading, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Optimal Loading is key to this new treatment formula and shows the effectiveness of immediate involvement of physical therapy.

“POLICE is not simply a formula but a reminder to clinicians to think differently and seek out new and innovative strategies for safe and effective loading in acute soft tissue injury management. Optimal Loading is an umbrella term for any mechano-therapy intervention and includes a wide range of manual techniques currently available.

Optimal loading means replacing rest with a balanced and incremental rehabilitation program where early activity encourages early recovery. Injuries vary so there is no single one size fits all strategy or dosage. A loading strategy should reflect the unique mechanical stresses placed upon the injured tissue during functional activities, which varies across tissue type and anatomical region.” (Bleakley CM et al. 220 Br J Sports Med March 2012 Vol 46 No 4)

Ankle Sprain

There are a number of things that the skilled hands of physical therapist that specializes in a “hands-on” manual therapy approach can do to A) expedite healing time, B) prevent recurrence. A video showing some of the treatment techniques used in treatment of an ankle sprain is available for your viewing by clicking here.

In this video Graeme Keys, in our Farragut clinic in Knoxville, uses specific mobilization techniques to get an immediate increase in range of motion of ankle inversion and improvement in weight bearing status. It also demonstrates a taping technique that reinforces the benefit of the mobilization. These are advanced techniques that all of the physical therapists at Results Physiotherapy use for treatment.

While ankle sprains will eventually heal by themselves, they never heal to 100%. Without muscle retraining and preventative therapy to strengthen and protect the ligament in the ankle recurrence is highly likely and in many circumstances will be worse than the initial sprain.

Referral from a physician for physical therapy is not required by most insurances, allowing patients the ability to see a physical therapist either the same day or next day when an injury occurs.

To review this article in PDF format, please click here.

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