How to deal with ankle sprains
I recently went to an orthopaedic training day, where there were two ankle specialists. They both stressed the importance of dealing carefully with ankle sprains, one of the commonest sporting injuries around.
This struck a chord with me. I have over the last 14 years seen many patients who have wrecked their ankles in their youth. They returned too quickly to sport and ended up with unstable and ultimately arthritic ankles, for which there are few good surgical options.
Treating ankle sprains
The two specialists both agreed that with a simple inversion sprain, a period of immobilisation is important. How long will depend on the degree of injury, but they would prefer to see the patient wearing a boot, including at night. This might be for two days to several weeks depending on the symptoms.
The immediate care of the injury can also have a great impact on recovery time.
Stop the activity, get the ice out immediately, and keep cooling it regularly maybe twice an hour for the first 24 hours or more, (RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) is often remembered but poorly understood). This is important to reduce the cellular respiration, and therefore preserve more fibres, which will improve the overall recovery. There should be absolutely no weight bearing until it has been properly assessed. Compression should be adequate, but not restrict blood flow completely, and elevation is relatively easy for an ankle.
Ankle sprains and Osteopathy
Following the initial rest and recovery period, osteopathic treatment can aid the longer term recovery of sprained ankles through systematic assessment of all the muscles and ligaments in the area.
And for patients who have sustained the injury years ago but are only now seeking treatment, an osteopath can look at alignment, impact on body, exercises to ease pain and improve movement.
If you have suffered a recent or long-ago ankle sprain, osteopathy can help you get back to full health.