Physical Therapy News Letter April 20, 2015
An ankle injury occurs when the joint is twisted, turned, sprained or strained. In the acute stages, rest and ice can bring relief. The joint is often elevated to control swelling and compression wraps can be applied to reduce swelling further.
Pain, swelling, and bruising are the hallmarks of a sprain. Most individuals avoid medical attention for a mild sprain, which can be a bad idea. A sprain weakens and destabilizes muscles and ligaments surrounding the ankle joint. As healing takes place, the formation of scar tissue can cause constriction of nerves and blood vessels surrounding the joint leading to residual pain and discomfort.
For severe injuries that involve ligament tears, a prolonged period of rest and physical therapy and possibly surgery may be required. Severe ankle injuries require surgical intervention to repair ligaments, muscles and tendons.
After an ankle surgery (or any surgery), physical therapy plays a crucial role in rehabilitation. After an initial period of non-weight bearing, your therapist will guide you to apply load to the affected joint in a gradual, progressive manner. Techniques to facilitate rehabilitation following ankle surgery include:
Electrical Stimulation – Reduces pain and improves circulation in connective tissues during the immobilization period. Also helps reduce swelling.
Joint Mobilization – This includes a range of specialized techniques designed to encourage joint mobility. Physical therapists are uniquely qualified to perform these techniques. This helps improve joint motion and facilitate a return to full function as quickly as possible.
Massage – Therapeutic massage is used to alleviate pain, reduce inflammation and swelling. Massage helps reduce muscle spasms following surgery and flush toxins from affected regions.
Exercise – A customized training program will be developed to reduce pain, improve strength, encourage stability and prevent additional injury. Gait and balance training are an important part of the recovery program.
Wrapping and Bracing – A specially fitted ankle brace will provide stability and support as the patient resumes daily activities. The dependence on the brace is reduced over a period until it is no longer needed. This allows the patient to lead an active lifestyle while maintaining stability and protection for healing joints.
Walking, running, jumping and playing sports outdoors allow us to enjoy nature and also spend time with friends and family. An ankle injury can get in the way, interfering with the ability to move unhindered and without pain. This is exactly where we can help.
Although ankle injuries can lead to immobilization for some time, physical therapy will help build strength, restore function and manage pain. In fact, physical therapy will help resolve underlying problems like weak ankle muscles and chronic instability, which can lead to future injuries. The therapist will design techniques tailored to accommodate specific needs following rest of surgical intervention.
If you have any pain, discomfort of surgery in your lower body, we can help. If you are not satisfied with the way your body has healed after a lower extremity injury, we can help with that as well. Call us today to learn more about a wide variety of techniques that will help you lead a happy, healthy and comfortable life. Not only will we get you back on your feet, we will help you hit the ground running!