What is an Ankle Sprain?
An ankle sprain is a very common injury, often affecting sports people, walkers, gardeners and couch potatoes alike! The mechanism of injury often varies a lot from person to person. The most common sprain involves the ankle ‘giving way’. The lower leg travels onward to the outside edge of the foot, causing the sole of the foot to face inwards (inversion). This sprains the ligaments to the outside edge of the ankle. You can also have an eversion ankle sprain, although this is not as common. A sprain is damage to ligaments, whereas a strain would be damage to muscle.
Acute Management using Chiropractic, Acupuncture and Massage
There is evidence that chiropractic care is effective in managing and treating ankle sprains, especially in the crucial early stages. Often, a first visit with one of our chiropractors would be a great place to start to find a suitable course of management. Depending on the injury, it may also be useful to have acupuncture, taping or massage to reduce swelling and inflammation, limit any further damage to the ligaments and put them back onto the road to recovery.
Exercises and gentle stretches will also be a key component of a full recovery. As always, we would refer as appropriate for any extra management or treatment. This may be imaging such as X-Ray, or referral to your GP or a specialist. If desired, our chiropractors can write a full report of findings for this purpose to refer you quickly and directly.
Prognosis of an Ankle Sprain
The general advice is that most sprains will take 4-6 weeks to feel major improvements. It often takes longer than this if the sprain is a bad one; more like 2-3 months, especially to get to a point of full recovery. There are different grades of sprain and of course all patients have a different medical history. This means that the prognosis often varies. Often, people are not necessarily in constant pain during recovery. Instead you are usually still working on the ankle’s range, strength and function for those months.
We often see very old ankle sprains (sometimes over a year) in which the foot and ankle isn’t moving properly. Often the ligaments have stiffened up in order to protect the ankle which wasn’t fully recovered. This then leads to the ankle joints themselves getting restricted, making walking difficult. We have also observed patients in which this one sided ankle stiffness progresses into knee, hip or back pain due to the lack of normal movement in that side of the body.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Chiropractic care is proven to be effective in the short term, and other treatments at Relief may also be beneficial with a sprained ankle. However, the main advice is not to see this injury as too ‘simple’ just because it’s a common injury. Sprains often aren’t taken seriously, and in some ways can have more lasting effects than simple fractures for example.
Still unsure about a visit to a Cambridge Chiropractor?
If you live near Cambridge and have pain or other symptoms, or if you want to improve the function of your body, chiropractic is a safe and very effective solution. If you are unsure whether chiropractic care is right for you, then you should consider booking either a first visit or a FREE spine check. During this time, the process of chiropractic care will be explained fully. There is no obligation to continue with the visits.