I wanted to start a new series with our patients to help you understand that we treat more than just the spine! Although chiropractors are known to be experts in treating neck and back pain, we are experts in all other joints of your body, too! Over the next few weeks, we’ll be covering different conditions that Chiropractors treat and tend to see commonly outside of the spine. First up, the common ankle sprain.
What is it?
Whether you rolled it while walking, running, dancing… I’m sure we’ve all experienced one of these at some point in our life! There are three different types of ankle sprains:
Inversion: When the bottom of your foot rolls inwards (see above photo!) This is the most common type of ankle sprain!
Eversion: When the bottom of your foot rolls outwards.
High ankle sprain: When your foot is jammed into dorsiflexion (toes up towards the sky!) and eversion (bottom of the foot rolls outwards). There is a delicate, fibrous connective tissue that connects your two shin bones together… this structure is what is most commonly injured with a high ankle sprain. These take the longest to heal of the 3 different types.
How do we treat it?
Whether you’re coming in with a newly acute ankle sprain, or chronic ankle laxity due to previous sprains… we assess your concern and create a plan tailored to your specific needs. Some of these things might include:
-Ankle joint mobilization: getting your ankle joint moving again. We start out slow, but this is to restore motion and avoid prolonged swelling/weakness/fear of movement.
-Soft tissue work: Some muscles may be compensating to protect the injured area. Working on these tight (and often tender!) muscles allows them to relax and ease up.
-Other Modalities: Depending on when you’re coming in to see us, we may implement other modalities (depending what is available at the clinic that you attend). For example ultrasound, low level laser, microcurrent, or TENS just to name a few.
-Stretching/strengthening exercises: This is the bread and butter of getting you back on your feet (literally!) We want to build up that ankle stability to prevent re-injury, but also want to increase your ankle mobility (range of motion) to allow for proper walking patterns and getting you back to the activities you love!
Did You Know:
You should avoid using ice in the first 24-48 hours after an acute injury. Your body has a natural healing process and brings increased blood flow to the injured area- ice impedes this process! Let your body do its thing, embrace the swelling for this time period, we have ideas of how to help you with the swelling.
What is something you can do at home?
Give your injury some PEACE & LOVE.
Protect: Relative rest, relative movement for 1-3 days, let your body’s pain signals guide you. Early and gentle range of motion can help with the healing process as well as getting rid of some of the swelling.
Elevate: Elevate your ankle higher than your heart to allow fluid to drain!
Avoid NSAIDS: Remember that natural healing process the body does? NSAIDs also impede this. Pain medication is out of our scope as a Chiropractor, so if you do need something to help with the pain, make sure to speak with your GP or pharmacist.
Compress: Use tape or tensor bandages during the day to help compress the area.
Educate: Ask your healthcare provider questions! Fully understand your injury.
AFTER A FEW DAYS:
Load optimally: Gradually add load and resume normal activities without worsening symptoms.
Optimism: The brain plays a key role in your rehab! Depression, fear and catastrophization can be negative barriers to your recovery.
Vascularization: Get that blood pumpin’! Pain free cardiovascular activity should be implemented a few days after injury to get blood moving to the newly injured structures.
Exercise: These will help restore stability, mobility and proprioception after an injury.
Any questions? Let me know!