Thursday, November 5, 2009

What You Need To Know About Ankle Sprains

It seems like a minor injury that many of our patients or even you may have experienced. Most of the time, we don't have to do much about it and it gets better .... in due time. The problem is that it happens again, yes people who sprain their ankles tend to sprain them again and again. Hence it's important that you visit us so we can check your ankle for any instability or anything sinister.

This is what the renown chronic pain physiotherapist (and our former tutor and friend) David Butler from Neuroscience Orthopaedic Institute wrote recently. He has novel ways of explaining pain. Knowledge about what is going on with your body when it is injured makes it a lot less scary. Here's what Dave said.

" An ankle sprain is no insignificant event and a bit of swelling and pain is normal as the brain tries to fix the final few problems. A peripheral nerve(that innervates the ankle) is a bit irritated and sticky in the swelling and maybe it has a slight sprain as well. There are little sensors in nerves and they "report" the chemicals (swelling), pulls, pressures, stress and even temperature change to the brain. These calm (or settle) down when the brain is satisfied that the ankle is fine. The whole central nervous system is aware of the ankle and is keeping an eye on it. This explains why most ankle movements may hurt a little. This is all normal and part of the healing process. In fact, you should thank your nervous system for looking after you, just that it (nervous system) needs a bit of help and advice." Here's where we as physios come in.

At Physio Solutions & Sports Solutions, not only do we manage your swelling and teach you how to strengthen your ankle to prevent a recurrence of ankle sprains. We will teach you how to mobilize the irritated nerves as well(something which most places won't). Most ankles will improve in a few days with your range restored in 2 weeks or less. Much can be done by you actively. Wriggle into the painful range a little and remember that this isn't harmful. It is likely and sometimes even normal to have some increased pain, swelling and sometimes disturbed sleep during the course of your treatment.

Please do not panic, this is normal as your brain is "checking out" what is happening and probably creating a bit of a response to seek more input and knowledge on which it will respond accordingly. At the ankle itself, there is a bit of excitement with the refreshment of new tissue movement as the sensors adjust. It will all be good, these "flare-ups" will only last a day or two.

Come talk to our physiotherapists to learn the best way to treat your ankle sprains. Don't put up with an ankle that keeps giving way, or is stiff and painful.


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