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Ankle Sprain

A sprain is a twisting injury to the ankle.

Most (80%) are caused by rolling the foot inward.
This stretches or tears the ligaments that hold the ankle and foot bones together and can lead to instability and re-injury.  


Spraining an ankle can increase your risk of re-injury as much as 40-70%. But proper post-injury care, rehabilitation exercises and bracing can decrease the risk. The information below can help you prevent re-injury.

Immediately Begin Using ...P-R-I-C-E
- Your ankle may be splinted, taped or braced to prevent further injury.
- from all activities that cause pain or limping. Use crutches/cane until you can walk without pain and limping.
- Place a plastic bag with ice on the ankle for 15-20 minutes, 3-5 times/day for the first 24-72 hours. Leave ice off at least 1 1/2 hours between applications.
- Wrap an elastic bandage from the toes up to midcalf, using even pressure. Wear until swelling decreases. Loosen the wrap if toes start to turn blue or feel cold. Elevate - the ankle above heart-level (hip-level is acceptable during class).

TO RESTORE NORMAL ANKLE FUNCTION... Range of Motion ExercisesHelp you regain normal ankle motion.Technique: Sit with your knee straight and hold the foot position as long as possible. Do as frequently as possible for the first 3-10 days. Pullback Flex your foot back toward your body. Flexibility (Stretching) Exercises Loosen tight leg muscles. Tightness makes it hard to use stairs, walk, run and jump. Technique: Hold each exercise 15 seconds at a gentle stretch. DO NOT BOUNCE!

STAGES OF HEALING &TREATMENT: The soft tissues that are traumatized will go through four stages of healing:

  • Healing may take up to 6 weeks for complete recovery. Treatment usually takes about 3 weeks if all recommendations are followed and no aggravations are encountered.
  • The first stage involves simply the immediate effects of injury, including bleeding, blood -clotting, and cellular breakdown. The inflammatory response is the primary means that the body uses to respond to-the injury.
  • The purpose of the inflammatory stage is to surround the area of injury in an attempt to protect it. The effect of this response is usually proportional to the amount of injury sustained. This phase can last up to 3 days. At this time the doctor may discuss with you the importance of utilizing ice packs, as this is important to reduce sweI1ing and control pain. Other therapies that will aid in the healing process include electrical stimulation & ultrasound.
  • The repair stage is the process following and is dictated by the severity of the injury. The injury will heal by regeneration, which is essentially the replacement of the surrounding tissues by fibrous tissue, resulting in scarring or adhesions. This phase can 1ast from 2 days to 6 weeks. In this phase of healing, the doctor may recommend such things as alternating heat and ice to create a "flushing effect" in the blood supply and surrounding tissues. He may begin you on a stretching and/or strengthening exercise program, or recommend that you get a soft tissue massage for tightened muscles.
  • The body's response to stress constitutes the remodeling stage. This occurs when the residual scar tissue undergoes reorganization and reorientation along the lines of stress. This phase is significant to the patient. The importance of continuing with the prescribed exercises and continuing to use moist heat on tight and sore muscles will be stressed by the doctor.

NUTRITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS: During the first two weeks after injury it is critical to create an optimal healing environment for the various damaged nerves, ligaments, and muscles. They need adequate minerals, vitamins, water, and amino acids if they are to heal properly. A balanced diet with abstinence from dehydrating substances such as alcohol, caffeine, hot dogs and too much red meat can be beneficial. During the first day after trauma, the body is in its injury-shock phase. Nutritional changes are not advised for the first day because of the potential for disturbing the body's preprogrammed metabolic balance system. Megadoses of vitamins and minerals are not suggested.

A well-balanced, digestible multivitamin supplement will suffice.

Supplement Suggested Dosage Comments
Vitamin C 1000-3000 mg/day Required for tissue growth and repair
Vitamin B Complex 100 mg/day Important for stress reduction
Zinc 50 mg/day Important in tissue repair
Calcium/Magnesium Complex 1000 mg/day Repair of skeletal tissue, and muscle contraction/relaxation


OF SPECIAL NOTE: Cigarette Smoking Smoking during the first few weeks following an injury may interfere with the normal healing process. If you smoke during this time you may slow your recovery down or end up with pain that you would not have otherwise. This may result in your requiring more treatment and a worse outcome. Cigarette smoking, which results in oxygen deficiency to already injured tissues, also, it can deplete tile Vitamin C supply in your body and should be increased to 4000mg/day. Smoking is not recommended for 4-6 weeks after a traumatic injury.

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