At some point, almost everyone experiences an ankle sprain. An ankle sprain occurs when the joint of the ankle moves further than normal and tears the ligaments surrounding it. This can happen for many reasons, and when it does, spinal adjustment can help the injured ligaments heal quicker and get you back to living the life you love more quickly.
What Is an Ankle Sprain?
The bones and muscles of the ankle are attached by tough bands of tissue that connect the leg bones to the foot bones. They stabilize the joint and allow it to be able to take the strains and impacts of the activities we do throughout the day. An ankle sprain occurs when the joint is over-extended and these bands become stretched or torn.
Sprained ankles typically occur when the ankle is twisted beyond its range of motion. This can occur from a fall, stepping on uneven pavement, playing sports, or wearing the wrong shoes. Anything that places strain on the ankle can cause a sprain. Sprains usually occur due to sudden or unexpected movement.
An ankle sprain can take many different forms depending on the direction of the rotation. The most common type of sprain is called an inversion sprain, which happens when the ankle is rolled too far outward. This type of motion damages the outside portion of the ankle. The injured ligament in this type of sprain is the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) and is one of the most common types of sprains.
An eversion sprain occurs when the ankle is twisted inward. It is less common and involves the deltoid and medial ligaments of the ankle. The third type of injury is a high ankle sprain. This is an outward twisting of the foot and typically requires a strong force. In this type of injury, the ligaments that connect the large bones of the leg and foot are stretched. This type of injury is usually associated with the forces involved in sports.
In addition to the type of injury, sprains are also classified according to the severity of the sprain.
- Grade 1: mild
- Grade 2: moderate
- Grade 3: severe
With a grade 1 ankle sprain, there is only mild damage to the affected ligament, but the ankle still feels stable. A grade 2 strain occurs when a partial tear of the ligament occurs. With this injury, the ligament is overstretched and loose. This causes the ankle to feel unstable. A grade 3 sprain is when the ligament has a complete tear and results in severe ankle instability.
What are the Symptoms of Ankle Sprain?
An ankle sprain typically involves a sudden injury or impact. It is possible to strain an ankle due to repetitive motion or poor posture, but this occurs less frequently than sprains caused by injury. Most of the time, the pain is sudden and connected to a known event. Here are some of the symptoms to look for if you think you have sprained your ankle.
- Skin discoloration
- Inability to weight bear
- Joint stiffness
It is important to keep in mind that you can have several classifications of ankle sprains at once. A physician can help determine the type and grade of the sprain. They can let you know your treatment options based on this information.
Ankle Sprain Diagnosis
The diagnosis of a sprained ankle involves a physical exam to determine which ligaments have been affected. The physician will usually move your ankle into different positions to check the range of motion. Depending on the results of the physical exam, your physician might order additional imaging tests to rule out a more serious condition.
Your physician might order X-rays to rule out a bone fracture. An MRI might be ordered to determine If damage a tear to the ligament or damage to the surface of the joint has occurred. These tests will help the physician to see the extent of the damage and make proper recommendations for treatment.
Ankle Sprain Treatment
Once the physician has determined the extent and type of damage, they can recommend a treatment protocol. Surgery is typically only recommended for the most severe injuries where a complete or near-complete tear of the ligament has occurred. For injuries that do not require surgery, the goal of treatment is to promote recovery and relieve discomfort.
Minor sprains can usually be treated at home. Your physician might instruct you to wear an elastic bandage or support brace. You might also be advised to use crutches, elevate your ankle with pillows, or apply ice for 20-30 minutes a few times a day. These measures take the load off the ankle and also reduce swelling. An over-the-counter pain reliever might be used to alleviate discomfort.
For moderate sprains, you might need to wear a walking cast and need physical therapy to recover completely. Most mild strains resolve in about 7-10 days. A moderate to severe sprain might take as much as six weeks or up to three months. Your physician will help decide when it is appropriate to return to normal activities and sports events. The extent of the damage and how quickly it heals will determine the length of treatment necessary.
How Spinal Adjustment Helps with Sprains
The standard treatment options, depending on the severity of the sprain, are designed to give your body the rest and time it needs to heal. Chiropractic adjustments can also help speed the healing process. Treatments can help reduce pain associated with the sprain and speed healing time.
Chiropractic adjustments also focus on improving range of motion and mobility. This can help you recover from the sprain and get back to life as soon as possible. Chiropractic treatment for sprains can involve adjustments. Adjustments can be made to more than just the spine.
A sprain can cause the ankle to be out of alignment. It can also cause the spine to be out of alignment, which can cause lower back pain. This is something many traditional physicians and physical therapists do not consider.
When the ankle is out of alignment, chiropractic adjustments can help align the bones and alleviate pain. This can also help promote healing and reduce inflammation. In addition to a chiropractic adjustment, you might also be asked to do exercises to improve strength and mobility in the ankle.
Physical therapy is often a part of the healing process. This helps to strengthen the ankle and makes it less likely that another injury will occur. Physical therapy must be continued until it has been determined that complete healing has taken place. The most important thing is to realize that proper healing takes time, and you should follow the advice of your practitioner to help you decide when you can begin adding more activity to the plan.
Adding Chiropractic Adjustment to Conventional Treatment
A sprained ankle can be an inconvenience. It can make it difficult to do the things you need to do during the day and is painful. The good news is that unless the sprain requires surgery, sprains will heal over time. Traditional treatments do not address the misalignments that can occur with a sprained ankle. The sprain can heal with the alignments unresolved, but this can lead to long-term pain or discomfort.
Chiropractic treatment is an excellent adjunct to conventional treatment for a sprained ankle. When a chiropractor performs an adjustment, it can help other aspects of the healing process. It also helps to assure the healing is complete, which can help prevent reinjury.
If you have a sprained ankle, it is important to seek help from your primary physician first, but it is also essential that you ask about adding chiropractic adjustment to your treatment plan. This is the best way to assure that you get back on your feet and back to the things you love as quickly as possible.